Chinese Gallery Opens at Huntington
|Wan-go H.C. Weng, Garden of Flowing Fragrance, 2007|
Henry and Arabella Huntington didn't collect Chinese art, aside from some deluxe porcelain. Not much Chinese material has been added since, with the exception of the Ten Bamboo Studio Manual of Calligraphy and Painting (about 1633-1703), a rare color woodblock book (mounted as an album), acquired in 2014 as the garden plans were moving forward. Thus the Studio for Lodging the Mind is not collection-based like the art and library spaces. It will require loans for future programming.
The condo-size space is comfortably lighted except near the entrance, where light streams in through glass doors, causing some distracting reflections. "A Garden of Words" is best described as an ideal didactic show ("Calligraphy for Dummies"). The attentive visitor can learn to distinguish the five types of scripts, aided by two well-produced videos and displays of brushes, ink blocks, and seals. This isn't overkill, given how little most Americans know about calligraphy. On the other hand, you don't learn too much about the artists or the process of inventing the garden's inscriptions.
|Tang Qingnian, Verdant Microcosm, 2018|