Asia Week 2014 Begins in New York City (+Photos)

March 14, 2014 Updated: March 14, 2014

NEW YORK—Asia Week New York broke its own participation record this year with 47 exhibiting galleries—most of them returning, but a handful first-timers.

One of the standout newcomers is Gisèle Croës from Belgium, presenting ancient Chinese bronzes, pottery, sculpture, and metal artifacts. Everything in Croës’s exhibition on the spacious fifth floor of Gagosian Gallery was on a grand scale, beginning with a nine-foot tall bronze temple guardian—imposing, alert, but benevolent—from the 15th century.

Moke Mokotoff, New York-based dealer of Central Asian and Himalayan art, is also new to the roster this year, but his collection of Buddhist sculptures and textiles feels like it has always belonged with Asia Week.

Giuseppe Piva Japanese Art from Italy brought Japanese works of art, arms, and armor, the highlight being two suits of samurai armor.

Two contemporary Japanese art galleries joined the lineup as well—GalleryFW from Chicago and Onishi Gallery from New York.

Returning exhibitors for the most part gave Asia Week attendees the antiques and antiquities they’d expect.

Kang Collection Korean Art, though, did a 180 from last year. Instead of Korean scholarly and literati paintings that dominated last year’s exhibit, Kang Collection chose to exclusively focus on the work of Ik Joong Kang, a contemporary mixed-media artist from Korea. The gallery was filled with oversized, liquid-plastic covered paintings on wood, and tiny porcelain jars.

Though few exhibitors were so singular in their subject, several opted to curate their diverse collections around a theme.

For example, Scholten Japanese Art centers this year’s exhibit on erotic woodblock prints. The collection was 15 years in the making, featuring nearly 50 works, including a painted hand scroll.

Eric Zetterquist and Joan B. Mirviss are both presenting monochromes; Zetterquist pre-Qing Chinese ceramics and Mirviss contemporary Japanese ones.

Zetterquist dispensed with color to focus solely on the shapes of Chinese ceramics, especially Song and Yuan pieces.

“If an object has a good form, a line will extend beyond itself into space and engage a viewer’s imagination,” Zetterquist said, demonstrating his point on a 4,000 year old black water jug from the neolithic Chinese culture Longshan.

Whether you’re a collector or not, Asia Week and other Asian art-related events taking place around the city this March are great opportunities to learn about the vast and varied traditions of Asia.

Asia Week New York takes place March 14–22.