The Nightlife: Entertainments of the Floating World
New York Asia Week, March 14 - 23, 2013
March 14 - 23, 11 - 5 pm
Asia Week New York
Open House Weekend:
Saturday, March 16th, 10 - 6 pm
Sunday, March 17th, 10 - 6 pm
view the online exhibition...
index of the exhibition...
Scholten Japanese Art is pleased to announce our upcoming gallery exhibition, The Nightlife: Entertainments of the Floating World, an exhibition devoted to the art of evening amusements. We will also be participating in the Asia Week New York Open House Weekend (www.asiaweekny.com) on March 16 - 17.
The exhibition will feature images from a variety of leisure activities featured in ukiyo-e (pictures of the floating world) such as the kabuki theater, sumo wrestling, music, party games, famous restaurants, teahouses and the beautiful women of the pleasure quarters.
The highlight of the show will be an important small-format six-panel screen (anonymous, 17th century, ink, color, gofun and gold leaf on paper, 25 3/8 by 81 1/2 in., 64.6 by 207 cm.) that depicts the famous female shrine dancer Izumo no Okuni who is credited with originating the kabuki theater (which later became restricted to male actors only) in Kyoto. The screen illustrates the intersection where everyday life in 17th century Japan meets the 'floating world'- offering its retreat from the realities of that life. On the left of the screen we see Okuni's performance and her rowdy audience's reaction, to the right we see the leisurely pursuits of a teahouse (with its comforts and courtesans), and in between men and women from all ranks of society enjoy a festival-like atmosphere under blossoming cherry trees.
In a similar vein there will be another six-panel folding screen devoted to a variety of Asobi (Amusements), including a sumo wrestling match underway at the center of the composition with an audience of both standing and seated viewers arranged in a circle (anonymous, 17th century, ink, color, gofun and gold leaf on paper, 35 3/4 by 112 1/2 in., 90.8 by 285.8 cm). To the left and right at the edges of the gathering are vignettes of children playing and courtesans arriving and departing.
Other types of entertainment in Edo period (1603-1868) Japan focused on feminine companionship with musical performances and party games with geisha (professional entertainers), courtesans (licensed and otherwise), and teahouse waitresses (who often were as well-known as high-ranking courtesans of the Yoshiwara pleasure quarter). An okubi-e ('large head') print by Kitagawa Utamaro (1753-1806), Renowned Beauties Likened to the Six Immortal Poets: Appearing Again, the Waitress Okita of the Teahouse Naniwa, ca. 1795-96, is a portrait of the famous teahouse waitress Okita who worked at the Naniwa teahouse near the Asakusa Temple (woodblock print, 14 5/8 by 9 7/8 in., 37 by 25 cm).
A hanging scroll painted by Utagawa Toyokuni (1769-1825) depicts a courtesan in full regalia: resplendent in her elaborate kimono, complex obi (tied at the front, usually indicative of a courtesan) and numerous hair ornaments, early 19th century (ink and colors on silk, 68 7/8 by 29 in., 174.94 by 73.66 cm). She is flanked by her pair of kamuro (pre-adolescent apprentices) who further adorn the beauty in their matching attire. This dazzling creature, parading beneath blossoming cherry trees, is likely en route to meet a customer for the evening.
In the Edo Period, kabuki performances were quite long; some programs would begin in the early hours of the morning while it was still dark, and continue until dusk, thus the duration of the program could span from evening to evening. The atmosphere was lively, and sometimes unruly, and the audience would actively participate and interact with the actors- a tradition which continues with contemporary kabuki. This exhibition will continue into the 20th century with works by artists such as Natori Shunsen (1886-1960), including a bold bust-portrait of the actor Bando Hikosaburo VI as Toneri Matsuomaru from the series Collection of Shunsen Portraits, 1928 (woodblock print, 15 3/4 by 10 3/4 in., 40 by 27.2 cm); and other prints from the same series. The exhibition will close with works from the end of the 20th century by the only living artist that Scholten represents, Paul Binnie (b. 1967), such as the remarkably expressive portrait, Ichikawa Ennosuke as Nikki Danjo, 1996 (with mica background, 16 1/4 by 11 3/8 in., 41.2 by 29 cm.).
Scholten Japanese Art is located at 145 West 58th Street, Suite 6D, between 6th and 7th Avenues. For the duration of the exhibition, March 14 - 23rd, the gallery will have general open hours (no appointments needed), 11 - 5 pm.
We are pleased to be participating in the schedule of events organized by Asia Week New York including extended hours on Saturday, March 16th, Sunday, March 17th, 10 - 6 pm.
March 14 - 23, 11 - 5 pm
Katherine Martin (212) 585-0474