Tradition on Fire

UntitledT-071, 2007, by Akiyama Yo(Japanese, b.1953).	Stoneware. Courtesy	 of the Paul and	Kathy Bissinger Collection.

Untitled T-071, 2007, by Akiyama Yo (Japanese, b. 1953). Stoneware. Courtesy of the Paul and Kathy Bissinger Collection.

We’ve transformed our Japanese painting gallery on the second floor into a contemporary ceramics gallery. This exhibition, titled Tradition on Fire, introduces works from the Paul and Kathy Bissinger Collection. It includes twenty two works by twenty artists. This is our first large Japanese contemporary ceramics exhibition at the Asian Art Museum.

The twenty artists included in this show carry on the long tradition of Japanese ceramics, but at the same time depart from the tradition in search of the new. They fired new and innovative ceramics—hence the title, Tradition on Fire. Moving beyond the role of artisans who repetitively produce traditional utilitarian vessels, these artists use clay as a medium of personal expression.

Cornucopia 03-III, 2003, by Tashima Etsuko (Japanese, b. 1959). Stoneware, pigments, glass. Courtesy of Asian Art Museum, Promised gift of Paul and Kathy Bissinger.

Cornucopia 03-III, 2003, by Tashima Etsuko (Japanese, b. 1959). Stoneware, pigments, glass. Courtesy of Asian Art Museum, Promised gift of Paul and Kathy Bissinger.

An exciting piece of news is that Paul and Kathy Bissinger have donated a major piece by Tashima Etsuko to the museum. It is one of my favorite pieces in the exhibition. I especially like the opposing qualities of opaque white ceramic and translucent blue glass with which she masterfully composed a unique and intriguing sculpture. We are grateful for this generous gift, which will enable us to better tell the story of contemporary Japanese art to our visitors.

 

All images © Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.

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