Saturday, March 22, 2008

Perfect Day

Katukawa Shusho (d. 1792) Late 1780's. John C. Weber collection.
Photo copyright John Bigelow

Yesterday was one of those perfect days. Karen and I caught an early train to
NYC to meet up with a friend we hadn't seen in a long time. It's sad when 
distance and careers get in the way of connecting with dear friends. We finally
decided we hadn't seen each other in 17 years. We met at the Asia Society.
They are hosting a wonderful exhibit, "The World of Edo Japan in Print and
Painting". While I count Japanese art as one of my main influences, viewing
the exhibit with Patricia Graham was eye opening. Pat is a former professor
of Japanese Art and Culture.  Her latest book, "Faith and Power in Japanese
Buddhist Art" is encyclopedic. We spent an hour or so viewing the exhibit before
lunch at Asia Societies excellent restaurant. Pat was accompanied by Lee Schneller, 
a fascinating woman, who has lived in Japan for over four years.  She is a premier
expert in landscape design based in Maine. Her company has designed more 
than 150 Japanese inspired gardens, using native plants. Watch her website
for the launch of a book on how to create continuous blooms late this year.
During lunch we turned to catching up on years of family, career, travels
 and children; then back for two more hours of viewing our influences til we 
stumbled out, bleary eyed from visual overload. 



We did manage a visit to two galleries owned by friends of Pat's that specialize
in Japanese art.  The Joan B. Mirviss gallery was especially exciting with many
pieces by Sakiyama Takayuki.  The ceramic pieces, some the size of bushel baskets,
are very earthy; evocative of sand dunes, beaches or plowed earth.  In late afternoon 
we departed, tired but inspired.  A day out with an old friend and meeting some
new ones - perfect.
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