Chigusa and the Art of Tea


Chigusa and the Art of Tea

Edited by: Louise Allison Cort and Andrew Watsky
Publisher: Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, 2014

This book of essays by multiple authors tells the story of an extraordinary tea-leaf storage jar named Chigusa. The jar was crafted in southern China during the 13th or 14th century and shipped to Japan, where its use as a tea-leaf storage jar endowed it with special status. The bestowing of a personal name — Chigusa (“thousand grasses” or “myriad things”), an evocative phrase from Japanese poetry — was a sign of respect and reverence.

Chigusa is the rare object that allows us deep insight into how people in Japan looked at, thought about and valued things over time,” said Andrew Watsky, professor of art and archaeology at Princeton University. He co-authored the book with Louise Allison Cort, curator of ceramics at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution, which organized the exhibition, Chigusa and the Art of Tea in Japan.

The exhibition is on view at the Princeton University Art Museum from Oct. 11, 2014, through Feb. 1, 2015.

The City Lost and Found: Exhibition examines creative responses to urban changes in ’60s, ’70s America

Chicago 1969

Kenneth Josephson, “Chicago,” 1969. Photo collage. The Art Institute of Chicago. Gift of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Copyright Kenneth Josephson.

THE AMERICAN CITY OF THE 1960S AND 1970S witnessed seismic physical changes and social transformations, including shifting demographics and political protests as well as the aftermath of decades of urban renewal. In this climate of uncertainty, a host of different actors — including photographers, architects, filmmakers, planners and activists — transformed these conditions of crisis into provocative and visually compelling statements about the culture, urban landscape and politics of New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.

A groundbreaking exhibition, The City Lost and Found: Capturing New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, 1960-1980, examines creative responses to dramatic urban changes through the intersection of photography, film, architecture and urban planning. On view from Feb. 21 to June 7, 2015, at the Princeton University Art Museum, the show focuses on the interconnections of art practices and lived realities in these three major American cities, with accompanying print and digital materials.


The exhibition is accompanied by a richly illustrated 272-page catalogue, with contributions from more than 20 noted scholars in art history, urban planning, architecture and cultural studies.

More than 150 objects — including photographs, photo-based work, film, architectural renderings, planning documents and publications — are highlighted across four galleries in the museum. The exhibition reframes work by renowned artists and architects, such as Martha Rosler, Paul Rudolph, Ed Ruscha, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Garry Winogrand and the firm of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, while also showcasing pivotal works by underrepresented artists, including Ralph Arnold, Oscar Castillo, Jonas Dovydenas, Arthur Tress and Shadrach Woods.

Though arranged by city, the exhibition focuses on major themes framing common directions of creative response and artistic engagement, including demonstration, preservation and renewal. For example, The New York Times photographer Barton Silverman captured protestors at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago occupying the public space in Grant Park opposite the convention hotel and taking over a public monument. The speed at which such images circulated in print and in television news coverage resonates with the use of social media in documenting contemporary life.

The exhibition is organized in collaboration with the Art Institute of Chicago, where it opened in October 2014. Katherine Bussard, the Peter C. Bunnell Curator of Photography at the Princeton University Art Museum, coorganized the show with Alison Fisher, the Harold and Margot Schiff Assistant Curator of Architecture and Design at the Art Institute of Chicago, and Greg Foster-Rice, associate professor of film at Columbia College Chicago.

A major scholarly catalogue accompanies the exhibition to further explore the connections between critical practices in art and architecture and the political, social and geographic realities of American cities during this transformational period. For example, Bruce Davidson’s two-year study of a single block, East 100th Street (1966- 68), and Romare Bearden’s photo collage The Block II (1971-72) reveal complex portraits of race, poverty and community in Harlem. With more than 300 illustrations, the book features contributions from more than 20 scholars in art history, urban planning, architecture and cultural studies. The catalogue is published by the Princeton University Art Museum and distributed by Yale University Press.

As a digital component, self-guided walking tours of each city are available to view online and access on mobile devices. Each walking tour connects up to 10 objects from the exhibition with their respective sites of engagement in the city. For example, on the New York City tour, users are directed to the former residence of artist Vito Acconci in Greenwich Village. There, starting at the front stoop, Acconci performed the conceptual work Following Piece for a month in 1969 to “follow [a] different person every day until person enters private place.” In this way users can see and experience firsthand how vital these cities were and remain to artistic and everyday life.


–By Erin Firestone

Italian Master Drawings: Exhibition goes beneath the surface

Michaelangelo picture

On display will be an architectural sketch depicting a floor plan for an unrealized chapel (bottom). It was only through the use of infrared reflectography in the mid-1990s that the sketch, located on the reverse side of a study of profile heads (top) that had been tentatively associated with the artist, was confirmed as the work of Michelangelo. Michelangelo, Bust of a Youth and Character Head of an Old Man, 1520s. Black chalk on tan laid paper. Gift of Frank Jewett Mather Jr. (Photos courtesy of the Princeton University Art Museum)

A new exhibition, 500 Years of Italian Master Drawings from the Princeton University Art Museum, on view from Jan. 25 through May 11, 2014, explores the mental process behind creation through nearly 100 rarely seen highlights by such masters as Vittore Carpaccio, Michelangelo, Luca Cambiaso, Gianlorenzo Bernini, Guercino, Salvator Rosa, Giambattista and Giandomenico Tiepolo, and Amedeo Modigliani.

The creative process is captured in the Italian word disegno, which translates as “drawing” or “design.” But the term is far richer, said Laura Giles, the Heather and Paul G. Haaga Jr., Class of 1970, Curator of Prints and Drawings at the Princeton University Art Museum. She defined the term as “encompassing both the mental formulation and the physical act of creation,” a construct that was, she added, “embedded into the Italian drawing process by the 15th century.”

The exhibition represents the culmination of more than 35 years of scholarship on the museum’s Italian drawings, including the acquisition of more than 125 works that have entered the collection through gift, bequest or purchase.

Many of the drawings have benefited from new insights concerning attribution, iconography, dating, function and provenance. Among the many noteworthy findings is the discovery, first made in the 1990s, of an architectural sketch by Michelangelo on the reverse side of a study of profile heads that had been tentatively associated with the artist. The drawing, depicting a floor plan for an unrealized chapel, is obscured from view by an 18th-century collector’s mount. Only through the utilization of infrared reflectography was the floor plan revealed.

The exhibition celebrates the publication of a new scholarly catalogue, Italian Master Drawings from the Princeton University Art Museum, authored and edited by Giles, Postdoctoral Research Associate Lia Markey and Renaissance art specialist Claire Van Cleave, with contributions from many leading scholars.

Laura Giles

Laura Giles, the Heather and Paul G. Haaga Jr., Class of 1970, Curator of Prints and Drawings, is curating the exhibition. (Photo by Henry Vega)

The catalogue is the first academic exploration of the collection since 1977. The research for the catalogue received significant support from The Getty Foundation’s Cataloguing of Museum Collections Grant Program.

In tandem with the publication of the exhibition catalogue, the museum will add updated research and high-resolution images to its online collections catalogue, allowing global access to the Italian drawings collection.

The museum’s collection of over 80,000 works includes more than 1,000 Italian drawings from the 15th through the early 20th century, encompassing the history of Italian art from the early Renaissance to early modernism.

–By Erin Firestone