When Zen Becomes Political: Zen and Soft/Hard Power

March 20, 2024
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Gallery past event

In celebration of Asia Week New York 2024, the Japanese Art Society of America is delighted to invite you to join JASA Members for the 2024 Annual Meeting and a special lecture presented by Frank Feltens, Curator of Japanese Art at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art. Zen has been used to foster political agendas, as inspiration for activism, and as a way to go against common norms. This talk highlights distinctive moments and individuals that made Zen and its arts a part of the political discourse of their times. They showcase how Zen has been part of Japan’s hard and soft power for centuries and continued to be in the twentieth century.

This event is free for members with registration. Admission to the exhibition will be included with all ticket purchases.

About the Speaker

Frank Feltens is Curator of Japanese Art at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art in Washington, DC. He holds a PhD from Columbia University and specializes in the history of Japanese painting. Feltens has curated a number of exhibitions, including Hokusai: Mad About Painting (2019/2020) and Mind Over Matter: Zen in Medieval Japan (with Yukio Lippit; 2022). His books include Ogata Kōrin: Art in Early Modern Japan (Yale, 2021), Sesson Shūkei: A Zen Monk-Painter in Medieval Japan (with Yukio Lippit; Hirmer, 2021), and Japan in the Age of Modernization: The Arts of Ōtagaki Rengetsu and Tomioka Tessai (Smithsonian, 2023). His forthcoming book Imagined Neighbors: Visions of China in Japanese Art, Circa 1680-1980 will be released in May 2024.

None Whatsoever: Zen Paintings from the Gitter-Yellen Collection
March 8—June 16, 2024

None Whatsoever: Zen Paintings from the Gitter-Yelen Collection explores the origins of Zen Buddhism through over four centuries of ink paintings and calligraphies by painter-monks, including the celebrated Buddhist master Hakuin Ekaku.

Top Image: Chūan Kinkō, Portrait of Gaofeng Yuanmiao (detail), 15th century, hanging scroll, ink on paper, Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, F1911.317a-b

None Whatsoever: Zen Paintings from the Gitter-Yelen Collection is supported, in part, by the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation.

Japan Society programs are made possible by leadership support from Booth Ferris Foundation and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature. Exhibitions and Arts & Culture Lecture Programs are made possible, in part, by Sompo Holdings, Inc.; the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Endowment Fund; the Mary Griggs Burke Endowment Fund established by the Mary Livingston Griggs and Mary Griggs Burke Foundation; The Masako Mera and Koichi Mera, PhD Fund for Education and the Arts; Peggy and Dick Danziger; Thierry Porté and Yasko Tashiro; and Friends of the Gallery. Support for Arts & Culture Lecture Programs is provided, in part, by the Sandy Heck Lecture Fund. Transportation assistance is provided by Japan Airlines, the official Japanese airline sponsor for Japan Society gallery exhibitions.

  • Wednesday, March 20, 2024
  • 5:00 pm
  • In-Person Event
  • Registration
  • $12 Nonmembers
  • $10 Seniors/Students
  • Members - Free
  • Person with Disability - Free