Sunday, March 27, 2011


As trite as it may sound, the best part of traveling is coming home. I'm surfacing after a blur of a trip to New York for Asia Week. I landed on Friday a week ago: an easy flight into an easy cab ride. Amarillo legends and Asian art collectors Dr. Bill and Jimmy Dell Price were on the plane--my first chill of excitement for what was to come. He asked me what I was coming up to see to which I replied--"As much as I can!" I met our Dear Curator on our Corner and we whizzed up Sixth through the budding park and over to the Asia Society for more celebrity. Willard "Bill" Clark of the esteemed Clark Center for Japanese Art in Handford, CA was part of a panel titled "The Collector's Vision: Three Perspectives on Asian Art" with fellow collectors Michael Feng and Thomas J. Pritzker. Amy Poster and Vishakha Desai moderated the discussion with relevance and grace. The cadence of the program was well-timed and actually pretty fascinating. Takeaways: Successful collectors know about:

  • Love

  • Humor

  • Risk

  • Heartache

  • Desire

  • Being human

  • Making Mistakes

Successful collectors do not know about:

  • Saying no

  • Taking advice from others

The curator and I met a few friends in the crowd and leaped into a cab toward an opening at the James Cohan Gallery--Qin Feng, an artist Dallas will very quickly come to know. He just exhibited in the Fresh Ink exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. We were late to the fete and I bumbled at least three introductions (being human) but loved meeting Qin and "running into" a fellow Texas Ex from the halls of the art building 1990-1994. We didn't meet then, but meeting at a gallery in NYC 16 years later was even better.

Saturday we soaked up a lecture by the curator of "Bye-bye, Kitty" a moving exhibition exclaiming a very serious side of Japanese contemporary art. Following the tragic events of the earthquake and tsunami this projects holds even more meaning. In fact, there is a luminous projection work of a wave with light passing through a reticulated film. It was hard not to feel the powerful motion in very fresh contexts and not shudder. We spent the next few hours at Christies studying the works in the auction--and especially a tremendous ("best ever") Namban Screen that 4 days later would fetch over four million dollars. Art has many faces and facets. I quickly recharged my phone and my person for a glorious evening of theater (Arcadia with Billy Crudup) and dining (John Dory Oyster Bar). Bliss.

Sunday Dear Curator knows how to play time in NYC, and it is certainly an entirely new art form to me. I will never order a full coffee before stepping into a cab again. Jetting up to her lecture on Black Current was...memorable. We made it with several seconds to spare--and just enough adrenaline to expend trying to get the laptop to speak to the projector. The talk was superb--a concise journey across sea and see. The Japanese Art Society of America was most enchanted with her new research and "publish" was the verb I heard repeated throughout the weekend. We shall try!

We soaked up the Met in the afternoon--particularly the Forbidden City exhibition--stunning in objects and didactics, but designed in a very odd configuration. I tested my memory of shortcuts and corridors--the paths you only know if you work there. My summer internship in 1998 provided thin veils of recognition, but it was Miguel Arisa (who works there) who expertly led us through those majestic halls.

On the way home I was encouraged to visit an Indian boutique on Fifth Avenue--and experience that provided entertaining contrasts: Tony address: Lock and Buzzer on the Door; Luscious silks and embroidery: Dressing Room in the sketchy restroom with no hooks; Gregarious, chatty owner with big rings and flashy smile: Timid, speechless wife on a stool in the corner; High prices: Deep discounts; Tiny showroom: Endless inventory. I managed to pull two beautiful purchases from my mound of options spilling over the counter top, promised to return on EVERY trip to see my new Indian friend and proudly left justifying the expense as "work clothes". Thank goodness I work in an Asian art museum.

Part Two of my Asia Week Adventure will continue in my next post...I have to keep you guessing, Dear Readers. And I have to catch-up on lost sleep!

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