This Sunday (May 15), The Ringling Museum will open its new Center for Asian Art.
David Berry is the Ringling's Assistant Director for Academic Affairs and is one of the project managers for the Center. He said the time is right to open a new home for a permanent collection of traditional, modern and contemporary art from Japan, Korea, China, India and Southeast Asia.
"The Ringling is very aware of the impact of Asian art and culture on the world in which we live today," he said. "And it has had the collections and they have grown over time and the feeling was that now was a really good time to provide permanent display space for the exhibition of those objects, but also to develop the Center as an initiative doing more in the way of public education and offering academic opportunities."
For the general public, that will mean an offering of talks, lectures, film series and programs that support exhibitions in the Center for Asian Art.
"The academic initiatives would be teaching with objects, also supporting individual scholars who might come and do research on the collections, those might ultimately lead to publications on various subjects, the academic work that either supports teaching and scholarship or that provides the foundation for the exhibition program," Berry said.
So are any of the objects from the Ringling's themselves? Berry said the information on those works is not as extensive as some of the other purchases of the time.
But those objects include "an interesting combination of things," according to Berry. "There are two wooden panels with depictions of (the mythical) Phoenix from Japan, they would have hung over the door of a temple," he said.
"They also had Gandharan sculpture - this is Buddhist sculpture showing Greco-Roman influence from what would be modern-day Pakistan and Afghanistan," Berry said.
The Ringling will welcome the public to see live silkworms in action, Bollywood-style dancing, Japanese flower-arranging exhibitions, fun stuff for children and Asian music this Sunday from 10 to 2.