This exhibition, presented at the Asia Society in the newly renovated Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Gallery, commemorates the gift of the collection to the Society in 1978. The collection itself was the impetus for building the new headquarters, with gallery space, at 725 Park Avenue in 1981. The collection very much reflects the personal tastes of the Rockefellers. It is by no means a survey of Asian art, but is a carefully selected group of objects of uniformly high quality, gathered together over a quarter of a century and giving evidence of a deep appreciation and understanding of the peoples and cultures of Asia.
With its concentration of masterpieces of traditional Asian art, the Rockefeller Collection is the subject of much scholarly interest worldwide. The collection was published by the Asia Society 1994 in Treasures of Asian Art. Aspects of the collection have been published in countless journals and catalogues and shown in innumerable exhibitions, many of them presented at the Asia Society. Each publication and exhibition to date has presented the collection with scholarly art historical commentary.
For this exhibition, artists from a wide range of disciplines have selected the objects to be included and have written the accompanying commentaries. Some of these texts are scholarly, some poetic, some personal, and some all three.