Zenga: A New History 

March 8, 2024
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Gallery past event

The roundtable associated with the exhibition, None Whatsoever: Zen Paintings from the Gitter-Yelen Collection, explores the origins, evolution, and importance of the Gitter-Yelen Collection of Japanese art. Alice Yelen Gitter and Kurt Gitter will share their experiences and aspirations during the decades-long formation of their collection. A circle of expert curators and scholars will discuss the significance of Japanese art in the Gitter-Yelen Collection for museums, universities, and the public. Join our conversation about the stories, memories, and ideas behind the elusive and alluring Zen paintings on view — and other works of Japanese art in the Gitter-Yelen Collection.  

About the Speakers

Yukio Lippit is Jeffrey T. Chambers and Andrea Okamura Professor of the History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University. He specializes in Japanese painting. His book Painting of the Realm: The Kano House of Painters in Seventeenth-Century Japan (2012) was awarded the Charles Rufus Morey Book Award by the College Art Association and the John Whitney Hall Book Prize by the Association of Asian Studies. Recent publications include Sesson Shukei: A Zen-Monk Painter in Medieval Japan (with Frank Feltens, National Museum of Asian Art, 2022) and Conservation Thinking in Japan (with Peter Miller, Bard Graduate Center, forthcoming 2025).

Bradley M. Bailey has served as the inaugural Ting Tsung and Wei Fong Chao Curator of Asian Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston since 2017. He earned his B.A., M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. degrees in art history, as well as his M.B.A., with emphasis on nonprofit management and museums, from Yale University. In addition to Meiji Modern, his current projects include an exhibition of Zen paintings from the Gitter-Yelen Collection (co-curated with Professor Yukio Lippit, Harvard University) that will open at the Japan Society in New York March 8-June 16, 2024, and is accompanied by a free online e-catalogue, complete with entries and essays by Bailey and Lippit, and published by the MFAH.

Andrew M. Watsky is the P.Y. and Kinmay W. Tang Professor of Japanese Art at Princeton University and his research focuses primarily on the sixteenth century. His current work concerns chanoyu, the Japanese practice of drinking tea and appreciating the diverse objects employed in its consumption. He is now working on a book about tea objects recorded in the 1588 treatise, The Records of Yamanoue no Sōji. His book Chikubushima: Deploying the Sacred Arts in Momoyama Japan (University of Washington Press, 2004) won the Shimada Prize and the John Whitney Hall Book Prize.

Lisa Rotondo-McCord is the Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs at the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA), she has served as Curator of Asian Art since 1994 where she has curated over fifty exhibitions on a broad range of subjects. In 1995 she inaugurated regular, focused, rotations within NOMA’s Japanese galleries, an initiative that continues today. She has organized and contributed to traveling exhibition projects including An Enduring Vision: 17th – 20th century Japanese Painting from the Gitter-Yelen Collection (2002-2004), The Sound of One Hand: Painting and Calligraphy by Zen Master Hakuin (2010-11, Stephen Addiss and Audrey Seo), and New Forms, New Voices: Japanese Ceramics from the Gitter-Yelen Collection (2017-2018, Joe Earle), as well as catalogues and exhibitions of Chinese ceramics and Indian bronzes.

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: Tōrei Enji (1721–1792), Ensō, 18th century, Hanging scroll; ink on paper, The Gitter-Yelen Collection: Kurt A. Gitter, M.D. and Alice Yelen Gitter.

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.

  • Friday, March 8, 2024
  • 1:00 pm
  • In-Person Event
  • Reserved Tickets
  • $12 Nonmembers
  • $10 Seniors/Students
  • * Members - Free
  • * Person with Disabilty - Free

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