A Conversation With Contemporary Tibetan Artist Gonkar Gyatso

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NEW YORK, March 6, 2018 — The artist Gonkar Gyatso discusses his internationally recognized work with Katherine Paul, curator of the Arts of Asia at the Newark Museum, and Melissa R. Kerin, associate professor of art history at Washington and Lee University. (58 min., 54 sec.)


Join contemporary Tibetan artist Gonkar Gyatso in a conversation with Katherine Paul (Newark Museum) and Melissa R. Kerin (Washington and Lee University) to explore his internationally recognized art. Gyatso is best known for mixing Buddhist iconography with pop imagery to examine the complexities of defining identity when different cultures simultaneously coexist and conflict. His most recent work, Buddha’s Picnic, premiered at Washington and Lee’s Staniar Gallery (Lexington, VA; February 12 – March 17) with support from the Lehman Foundation. The installation is a modern shrine filled with mass-produced Buddhist devotional objects including electric prayer wheels, neon-colored Buddha statues, and flashing Lotus lights.

Gonkar Gyatso is a Tibetan born British artist. Born in 1961 in Lhasa, Gonkar moved to London in the late 90's on scholarship to the Chelsea School of Art and Design, where he attained his MA in Fine Art. (Gyatso studied Chinese Brush Painting in Beijing, attaining a B.F.A. and Thangka--traditional Tibetan scroll painting--in Dharamsala.) He has been living and working in the West ever since; and is the founder of the Sweet Tea House, a contemporary art gallery dedicated to showing Tibetan work, based in London. Gyatso was the recipient of a Leverhulme Fellowship in 2003 and was an artist in residence at Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford.  

Gyatso's work has been exhibited in galleries and museums around the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, NY), the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (Boston, MA), Tel Aviv Museum of Art (Israel), The City Gallery (New Zealand), The Institute of Modern Art (Australia), the Rubin Museum of Art (New York) the Chinese National Art Gallery (Beijing), the Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art (Scotland), the Courtauld Institute of Art (London), Burger Collection (Switzerland), the Wereldmuseum Rotterdam (Netherlands), and the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art (Australia), Additionally he has participated in the 53rd Venice Biennale (Italy), the 6th Asia Pacific Triennial in Brisbane (Australia) and the 17th Sydney Biennale (Australia). His work is held internationally, in public and private collections.

Melissa R. Kerin is an art historian whose primary field of research is the art and material culture of South Asia from the late medieval and modern periods. Along with a number of articles and chapters, Kerin has authored two books. Her second book, Art and Devotion at a Buddhist Temple in the Indian Himalaya, was awarded the Edward C. Dimock, Jr. Book Prize in the Indian Humanities (Indiana University Press, 2015).  Her third book project, under contract with Oxford University Press, is an edited volume analyzing the ethical treatment of cultural heritage in South Asia, the Middle East and the U.S. She is currently finishing a manuscript, Bodies of Offerings: The Materiality and Vitality of Tibetan Shrines, which received an American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship (2014-15). Since joining the faculty of Washington and Lee’s Art and Art History Department in 2011, Kerin has taught a range of courses related to the interconnections among art, religion, memory, and identity. Kerin holds a Ph.D. in Art History from the University of Pennsylvania and an M.T.S. from Harvard Divinity School.

Katherine Anne Paul is Curator of the Arts of Asia at the Newark Museum in Newark, New Jersey. Since her appointment in 2008, she has created eight temporary exhibitions and re-installed twenty permanent galleries showcasing both traditional and contemporary art originating in different regions of Asia including the traveling exhibition, Secrets of Buddhist Art: Tibet, Japan and Korea. Previously Dr. Paul held posts at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, and the Textile Museum in Washington, DC. She lectures and publishes widely and holds a B.A. from Reed College and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A Fulbright scholar, she has performed field research in twenty-six Asian nations during the past twenty years.

Co-presented with Columbia University, Department of Modern Tibetan Studies Program. 

Event Details

Tue 06 Mar 2018
6:30 - 8 p.m.

Asia Society
725 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10021

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$8 Members; $10 Students/Seniors; $12 Nonmembers
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