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Along the Silk Road: Explore art that links Asia to the West in new Beach Museum of Art exhibition

Monday, Nov. 26, 2018

"Imari Charger (Dutch Merchants and Ship)"

The 19th-century porcelain"ImariCharger (Dutch Merchants and Ship)," 2 inches by 16 inches, is part of the "Voices: Art Linking Asia and the West" exhibition opening Dec. 4 at Kansas State University's Beach Museum of Art. The work was a bequest to the museum from John H. Kohn. | Download this photo.


MANHATTAN — The exchanges, intermingling and occasional clash of cultures between Asia and the West along the Silk Road are on display in the new exhibition "Voices: Art Linking Asia and the West," opening Tuesday, Dec. 4, at Kansas State University's Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art.

The Silk Road refers to the trade routes linking Asia with the Mediterranean, Africa and Europe. This trade network flourished from the second century B.C. to the mid-15th century, enabling people, ideas, art and trade goods to move across land and sea.

In "Voices," which is part of the Beach Museum of Art's yearlong program series "Silk Road through Kansas," selected works from the museum's collection and a painting from the Kansas State University Historic Costume and Textile Museum demonstrate the exchanges still happening today between East and West by way of Kansas, even though the historical Silk Road is extinct. Works include the 1991 painting "Martin Cheng: Painter and Fisherman" by Roger Shimomura, professor emeritus of art at the University of Kansas; "Fan of Cheese and Sausage Pizza," a 2005 work by Kansas State University's Margo Kren, professor emeritus of art, that was painted on a fan she acquired in China; and the Historic Costume and Textile Museum's 18th-century scroll painting of the Virgin Mary and the Christ child with St. Joseph, which was made by a Chinese artist who fused Chinese landscape painting and iconography with Christian subject matter and some European painting techniques.

"Voices: Art Linking Asia and the West" runs through Dec. 21, 2019, and is co-curated by Aileen June Wang, Beach Museum of Art curator, and Sherry Fowler and Maki Kaneko, both professors with the University of Kansas Kress Foundation Department of Art History.

The following are activities related to "Voices" and "Silk Road through Kansas" to be offered in 2019 at the Beach Museum of Art. All events are free and open to the public, and more information is available on the museum's website, beach.k-state.edu.

• East Meets West Game Night will be 5-7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 24. Enjoy games we play today that actually originated from various countries in Asia and the Middle East, including chess, Mancala, Go, Parcheesi, and Snakes and Ladders. Hot chocolate and cookies will be available.

• The talk/performance "Search for Simurgh" will be 5:30-7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 14. Kansas State University's Kate Digby, assistant professor of dance, will share her work on the immersive, interactive performance installation "Search for Simurgh," currently in development. Digby is collaborating with experimental media artists and scientists on the piece, which draws on the writings of artist Roya Movafegh, who escaped Iran during the revolution. 

• The Silk Road to Kansas: East Asian Art and Global Flow Symposium, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22, will feature research presentations by students in the graduate seminar class Silk Road to Kansas: East Asian Art and Global Flow, which was team-taught by KU's Fowler and Kaneko as part of the Beach Museum of Art's "Silk Road through Kansas" project. The students conducted research on objects related to the theme of exchange in the collections of the Beach Museum of Art and Washburn University's Mulvane Art Museum.

• The documentary "Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble" will be screened from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 28. The documentary is the story of how renowned cellist Ma brought together the international musical collective, the Silk Road Ensemble. Discussion will be offered after the screening and light refreshments will be provided.

• Director Dan Chen will screen and discuss his films "Just Doug" and "Ella" from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 28. Chen grew up in Manhattan and now works as a filmmaker in Los Angeles. His films tell stories about being Asian American in Hollywood and growing up Asian American in a small Midwest town. A reception will follow.

• The talk and demonstration by Shozo Sato, "The History and Art of Tea," will be offered at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 18. A professor emeritus at the University of Illinois, Sato is a master of traditional Zen arts and recipient of the Order of Sacred Treasure from the emperor of Japan for his contributions in teaching Japanese traditions.

"The Silk Road through Kansas" is a collaborative project organized in partnership with regional art institutions. Programs at Kansas State University are organized in partnership with the university's Asian American Student Union. The Mulvane Art Museum, the Ulrich Museum of Art at Wichita State University, the Birger Sandzén Memorial Gallery in Lindsborg and the Spencer Museum of Art at KU are offering related exhibitions and public events. Check their websites for more information.

Major support for the "Silk Road through Kansas" program at the Beach Museum of Art is provided by grants from the Greater Manhattan Community Foundation's Lincoln & Dorothy I. Deihl Community Grant Program and the Kansas State University Confucius Institute, with additional sponsorship by the Manhattan Broadcasting Company.


Beach Museum of Art


Beach Museum of Art