Ancient Chinese Masterworks Pair with Monumental Modern Landscape
Major Exhibition Fills Four Nelson-Atkins Galleries; Artist Studio Open to Public
Kansas City, MO Jan. 14, 2013–An exhibition that juxtaposes thousand-year-old Chinese landscape paintings with the monumental landscapes of the living Chinese master Xu Longsen, Journey through Mountains and Rivers: Chinese Landscapes Ancient and Modern, opens on Feb. 8 at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City. The exhibition is a celebration of six treasured landscapes from the Nelson’s collection that have just received incredible critical and public acclaim in the exhibition Masterpieces of Chinese Painting and Calligraphy from American Collections presented at the Shanghai Museum.
This is a unique opportunity to view these masterworks which, because of their fragility, are rarely displayed. In conversation with these ancient works are 14 landscape paintings by Xu Longsen ranging from small, fan-shaped paintings to a monumental, horizontal scroll which is the largest Chinese landscape painting ever created and has never before been displayed in public.
“The rise of landscape painting in China from the 10th to the 13th centuries represents one of the most important revolutions in the history of art,” said Julián Zugazagoitia, CEO & Director of the Nelson-Atkins. “This landscape tradition has endured for a thousand years and is breaking new ground in the works of artists such as Xu Longsen.”
Although Roman mural painting depicted figures in landscape settings, in China, for the first time, landscape itself became a primary theme. Tiny figures were often present, serving to emphasize both the vastness of nature and mankind’s intimate relationship with the natural world.
“Landscape painting was not merely the representation of scenery, but also possessed profound philosophical meaning. It carried a moral message,” said Colin Mackenzie, Senior Curator of Chinese Art. “For the Chinese, landscape was a symbol of the natural way of things—a central tenet of Daoist philosophy—an escape from the corrupt world of official life, and an expression of the refined character of the artist. Confucious himself recognized that nature can be a moral force when he said that the wise take pleasure in rivers and the virtuous take pleasure in mountains.”
The Nelson-Atkins Museum is one of a very few museums in the world that can tell the story of the rise of this great tradition through paintings by major masters.
“For all of us who love landscape painting, the Chinese collection is truly wonderful, a real gem,” said Marilyn Stokstad, professor of Art History at the University of Kansas. “How fortunate we are to be living in, and near, Kansas City with its wonderful Nelson-Atkins Museum. Only such a museum could even think about a show like this one.”
The exhibition will be presented in four galleries in the Nelson-Atkins Building. Kirkwood Hall will display the hand scroll Illustration to the Second Prose Poem on the Red Cliff, attributed to Qiao Zhongchang. This painting is celebrated for its remarkable psychological insights into the famous Red Cliff poem composed by Su Shi (1037 – 1101), a senior contemporary of Qiao. A special interactive program on a sliding iPad can be moved across the scroll case, allowing visitors to engage fully with the cultural and historical background of this work.
In conversation with the Red Cliff. is Xu Longsen’s monumental horizontal scroll The Law of the Dao is its Being What it Is, painted during six years from 2002–2008 and displayed in public for the first time. Almost 90 feet long and over 12 feet tall, this scroll will be positioned in a semicircle, immersing visitors in a dense landscape of mountains, forests and streams.
On the museum’s second floor, visitors can view Xu Longsen at work in his recreated artist’s studio, complete with the Four Treasures of the Scholar’s Studio (brush, ink, inkstone, and paper). Xu will be in residence for one week (February 8–15). Next door, in the Chinese Furniture Gallery, visitors can enjoy Xu’s smaller paintings together with his collection of scholars’ rocks. These naturally weathered and fantastically shaped stones were appreciated by Chinese scholars and artists who valued them more highly than statues or sculpture. Rocks were often regarded as miniature landscapes, so visitors can enjoy the resonance between them and the paintings.
From this gallery visitors can take a journey back in time to the Chinese painting gallery, in which are displayed eight famous paintings of the Song Dynasty (960-1279) and Yuan (1271-1368) Dynasties. These include the hanging scroll Solitary Temple Amid Clearing Peaks, one of only two works plausibly attributed to master Li Cheng (919-967), who was recognized by contemporary and later critics as a seminal figure in the rise of landscape; the majestic Fishermen on a Mountain Stream by Xu Daoning (970-1052), universally accepted as one of the greatest landscape handscrolls to survive from the Song period; stunning hand scrolls by the two most famous court painters of Southern Song (1127-1279)–Composing Poetry on a Spring Outing by Ma Yuan (act. 1189-1225) and Twelve Views of Landscape by Xia Gui (active ca. 1180—1224); Verdant Mountains, a rare surviving work by Jiang Shen (ca. 1090-1138), and Enjoying Fresh Air in a Mountain Retreat by Sheng Mao, (active ca. 1330-1369).
Because Journey through Mountains and Rivers: Chinese Landscapes Ancient and Modern is such an important opportunity to revisit these treasured masterpieces, an impressive line-up of public programming has been created.
Thursday, February 21
A Revolution in Chinese Art
Marc Wilson, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art Director Emeritus and esteemed scholar of Chinese art, tells the fascinating story of one of the world’s most significant artistic revolutions—the advent of landscape painting in China during the 10th-13th centuries.
Saturday, February 23
Conservatory Connections: Music in the Galleries
Chinese Journeys, Traditional and New (Featuring the Students of Composer Chen Yi)
1:30 and 2:30 p.m.
Ancient and modern come alive in the exhibition Journey through Mountains and Rivers. Enjoy new compositions performed by Jing Zhou and colleagues Michael Miller, Tyler Capp and Scott Steele performed on various instruments, including the traditional Chinese zheng.
Friday, March 15
The Curator is IN!
A Journey through Mountains and Rivers
Take a journey back in time with Nelson-Atkins Curator of Chinese Art Colin Mackenzie, and discover the great landscapes of China. Eat at rustic restaurants, visit secluded temples, meet with distinguished scholars and poets, and view vast vistas from the tops of mountains – all in the imagination, of course!
Thursday, April 4
The Art of the Brush: Chinese Painting in a Contemporary World
Join an exciting line-up of speakers, including Nelson-Atkins Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art Jan Schall, Melissa Chiu, director of the Asia Society Museum in New York, and Robert Mowry, curator of Chinese Art at the Harvard University Art Museums, as they discuss Chinese brush painting in its traditional context and as an art form that may (or may not) have a future in today’s art world. Nelson-Atkins curator Colin Mackenzie moderates this fascinating conversation.
Image caption: Attributed to Li Cheng, Chinese, 919-967 C.E. A Solitary Temple Amid Clearing Peaks, Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127). Hanging scroll, ink and slight color on silk. Purchase: William Rockhill Nelson Trust
Artist rendering of Kirkwood Hall installation featuring the Red Cliff and The Law of the Dao Is Its Being What It Is.
Photo credit: Liu Yuanyuan
This exhibition is supported by The Donald J. Hall Initiative.
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
The Nelson-Atkins in Kansas City is recognized nationally and internationally as one of America’s finest art museums. The Nelson-Atkins serves the community by providing access and insight into its renowned collection of more than 33,500 art objects and is best known for its Asian art, European and American paintings, photography, modern sculpture, and new American Indian and Egyptian galleries. Housing a major art research library and the Ford Learning Center, the Museum is a key educational resource for the region. The institution-wide transformation of the Nelson-Atkins has included the 165,000-square-foot Bloch Building expansion and renovation of the original 1933 Nelson-Atkins Building.
The Nelson-Atkins is located at 45th and Oak Streets, Kansas City, MO. Hours are Wednesday, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.; Thursday/Friday, 10 a.m.–9 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; Sunday, Noon–5 p.m. Admission to the museum is free to everyone. For museum information, phone 816.751.1ART (1278) or visit nelson-atkins.org.
For media interested in receiving further information, please contact:
Kathleen Leighton, Communications and Media Relations Officer
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
密蘇里州堪薩斯城的納爾遜·阿特金斯藝術博物館（The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art）精心策劃的《江山行旅——中國古今山水畫展》將於2013年2月8日隆重開幕。展覽的最大亮點是：有千年歷史的中國宋代繪畫精品將與中國當代畫家徐龍森的巨幅山水作品同期展出，幫助觀眾從山水中探尋中國藝術的淵源及發展。
展覽將佔據納爾遜博物館的四個展廳。Kirkwood Hall是博物館最大的展廳，這裡將展示北宋畫家喬仲常珍貴的手卷作品《後赤壁賦圖卷》，這是最早的文人畫之一，內容是根據著名詩人蘇軾的《後赤壁賦》而創作。畫作上方，是別出心裁的iPad教育互動體驗區， iPad在畫作上可以移動，還可以生動展示作品背後蘊藏的歷史與文化。
本展覽由The Donald J. Hall Initiative支持。
地址：密蘇里州堪薩斯城4525 Oak Street
諮詢電話： 816.751.1 ART（1278）
策展人：馬麟（Colin Mackenzie） 陸聆恩（Ling-en Lu）
電話：816.751.1340 / 816.751.1530
電子郵件：firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com