19 episodes

The history of American art has long been discussed primarily in terms of European training and influence. When scholars have looked eastward, they often have considered the Asian influence on art of the United States as a unidirectional and limited development, suggesting that Asian culture was monolithic and unchanging while characterizing American artists as dynamic and original in their ability to absorb and meld the best of diverse global outlooks. This multidisciplinary conference focuses instead on what scholar Bert Winther-Tamaki has called in his book Art in the Encounter of Nations the "contentious interdependency" born out of a "long and tumultuous relationship" between East and West.
Papers by both senior and emerging scholars and curators explore cultural interactions in a variety of "contact zones" ranging from the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of the United States to venues of artistic production in India, China, Japan, the Philippines, and Vietnam. Speakers consider the circulation of artists, objects, and ideas over time and the impact of these crossings on art and culture at large; reflect on the changing face of Orientalism; look at international conversations about race and identity; and explore developments in studio craft and the import market.
"A Long and Tumultous Relationship": East-West Interchanges in American Art was organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum in partnership with the Smithsonian's Freer Gallery of Art/Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program. It was supported by a generous grant from the Terra Foundation for American Art, which is dedicated to fostering the exploration, understanding, and enjoyment of American art for national and international audiences.

Each speaker's bio and abstract are available as PDFs in this collection.

Image: The Chinese Fishmonger (detail), 1881, Theodore Wores, oil on canvas, 34 3/4 x 46 1/8 in. (88.3 x 117.0 cm.,) Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Drs. Ben and A. Jess Shenson, 1972.153.

A Long and Tumultuous Relationship: East-West Interchanges in American Art Smithsonian American Art Museum

    • Arts

The history of American art has long been discussed primarily in terms of European training and influence. When scholars have looked eastward, they often have considered the Asian influence on art of the United States as a unidirectional and limited development, suggesting that Asian culture was monolithic and unchanging while characterizing American artists as dynamic and original in their ability to absorb and meld the best of diverse global outlooks. This multidisciplinary conference focuses instead on what scholar Bert Winther-Tamaki has called in his book Art in the Encounter of Nations the "contentious interdependency" born out of a "long and tumultuous relationship" between East and West.
Papers by both senior and emerging scholars and curators explore cultural interactions in a variety of "contact zones" ranging from the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of the United States to venues of artistic production in India, China, Japan, the Philippines, and Vietnam. Speakers consider the circulation of artists, objects, and ideas over time and the impact of these crossings on art and culture at large; reflect on the changing face of Orientalism; look at international conversations about race and identity; and explore developments in studio craft and the import market.
"A Long and Tumultous Relationship": East-West Interchanges in American Art was organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum in partnership with the Smithsonian's Freer Gallery of Art/Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program. It was supported by a generous grant from the Terra Foundation for American Art, which is dedicated to fostering the exploration, understanding, and enjoyment of American art for national and international audiences.

Each speaker's bio and abstract are available as PDFs in this collection.

Image: The Chinese Fishmonger (detail), 1881, Theodore Wores, oil on canvas, 34 3/4 x 46 1/8 in. (88.3 x 117.0 cm.,) Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Drs. Ben and A. Jess Shenson, 1972.153.

    Abstracts for East-West Symposium (PDF)

    Abstracts for East-West Symposium (PDF)

    Abstracts for “A Long and Tumultuous Relationship”: East-West Interchanges in American Art, a symposium

    Bios for East-West Symposium (PDF)

    Bios for East-West Symposium (PDF)

    Speakers’ bios for“A Long and Tumultuous Relationship”: East-West Interchanges in American Art, a symposium

    East-West Interchanges symposium proceedings (PDF)

    East-West Interchanges symposium proceedings (PDF)

    The symposium proceedings were published by Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press in 2012 along with an introduction by symposium organizer, Cynthia Mills, and two essays by co-organizers, Lee Glazer and Amelia Goerlitz, on the Smithsonian's research resources relating to East-West exchange.

    • video
    Reflections on "The Third Mind": Topics for Intellectual Inquiry

    Reflections on "The Third Mind": Topics for Intellectual Inquiry

    Welcome, Elizabeth Broun, The Margaret and Terry Stent Director, Smithsonian American Art Museum

    Alexandra Munroe, senior curator of Asian Art, Guggenheim Museum, East-West Interchanges Speaker

    • 49 min
    • video
    India and America: Mutual Perceptions in the Contact Zone

    India and America: Mutual Perceptions in the Contact Zone

    Partha Mitter, emeritus professor of art history, University of Sussex, East-West Interchanges Speaker

    • 29 min
    • video
    Destructive Creation: Instrumental Aesthetics and Geopolitical Relations in the American-Occupied Philippines

    Destructive Creation: Instrumental Aesthetics and Geopolitical Relations in the American-Occupied Philippines

    J. M. Mancini, lecturer, National University of Ireland Maynooth, East-West Interchanges Speaker

    • 24 min

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