USC Pacific Asia Museum

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Lotus by Hannah Erskine


Hote HokugaInsight: The Path of Bodhidharma

The Focus Gallery
September 19, 2014 through February 15, 2015

Insight: The Path of Bodhidharma explores the portrayal of the Buddhist monk Bodhidharma (known as Daruma in Japan) and how this religious figure has become a popular icon through an array of objects from paintings and sculptures to decorative objects and toys. Credited with introducing Chan (Zen in Japanese) Buddhism in China in the 6th century, the Indian monk Bodhidharma has become a well-known subject in Buddhist art, frequently depicted in ways that emphasize his non-East Asian origin and iconoclastic persona. As Chan (Zen) Buddhism gained popularity, various legends associated with the Chan patriarch evolved, and artists began to depict those legends alongside his portraits. Traditional depictions of Bodhidharma were executed in ink monochrome with free expressive brush strokes, alluding to his teaching that focuses on the spontaneous nature of reaching enlightenment through meditation. During the Edo period (1603-1868) in Japan, the traditional sternness of this pious monk's expression went through a radical change as he was often paired with a courtesan of the pleasure quarters—a parody to expose the hypocrisy of society. Today, Bodhidharma's depictions are still widely found both in fine art and pop culture.

HOTEI Hokuga (fl. early 19th century), Courtesan and Daruma, Japan, c. 1805, Ink, color, paper and silk, Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Calvin Frazier, 1986.67.8



The Changing Exhibition Galleries: South Gallery
September 26, 2014 through February 22, 2015

2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the revolutionary landmark Chinese installation work, The Rent Collection Courtyard. In 1965, a group of sculptors from the Sichuan Institute of Fine Arts created 114 life-size clay figures depicting starving peasant farmers bringing their rent to a tyrannical feudal landlord's residence, a trenchant Communist critique of practices of serfdom and servitude in imperial China. After the groundbreaking installation at a landlord's former residence in China, the figures were reproduced in a unique maquette (scale model) which belongs to USC Pacific Asia Museum. The Rent Collection Courtyard: Fifty Years will recreate the original installation paired with a critical essay on the works and their legacy in setting the stage for later waves of Chinese contemporary art.

Image from the 1965 installation in the courtyard of Liu Wencai's residence in Dayi County, China.


THE FIRST WAVE: Modern and Contemporary Chinese Paintings in the USC Pacific Asia Museum CollectionThe First Wave

The Changing Exhibition Galleries: North Gallery
September 26, 2014 through February 22, 2015

In tandem with the installation of The Rent Collection Courtyard: Fifty Years, a group of modern and contemporary Chinese paintings from the second half of the 20th century--drawn from the museum's permanent collection--will be featured. The museum has a long history of introducing contemporary works from Asia to the residents of southern California. The exhibition will revisit two prior exhibitions, Beyond the Open Door: Contemporary Paintings from the People's Republic of China in 1987 and I Don't Want to Play Cards with Cezanne and Other Works: Selections from the Chinese "New Wave" and "Avant-garde" Art of the Eighties in 1991. The exhibition, together with The Rent Collection Courtyard, will examine Chinese art during a period when art was created to meet political demands and explore how the art of this period fits into the continuum of Chinese art history.

GENG Jianyi (b. 1962), Salon de Beauté, China, 1985, oil on canvas, USC Pacific Asia Museum Collection, Gift of Waldermar A. Nielsen.
© Geng Jianyi. Courtesy of the ShanghArt Gallery