Painting and Calligraphy by Zen Masters at NOMA

NEW ORLEANS, LA – The New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) presents Teaching Beyond Doctrine: Painting and Calligraphy by Zen Masters, on view through January 20, 2019. Featuring forty paintings and works of calligraphy by Zen masters of the Edo period (1615-1868), Teaching Beyond Doctrine highlights important new acquisitions to NOMA’s permanent collection, as well as significant loans from the Gitter-Yelen Foundation of New Orleans.

“One of the most notable features of NOMA’s Japanese collection of Edo-period painting is its emphasis on Zen painting,” said Susan Taylor, NOMA’s Montine McDaniel Freeman Director. “Visitors will have the opportunity to directly encounter works by recognized Zen masters, who express their authority and insight through brush and ink.”

Zen (meaning “meditation”) does not rely on the written word, but rather on a direct mind-to-mind transmission of knowledge from teacher to pupil. Painting and calligraphy by Zen monks has a long history in Japan, and flourished in new ways during the Edo period. That era’s most influential Zen master and painter, Hakuin Ekaku (1686-176), is represented by three works in the exhibition. Hakuin created a new visual language for Zen, dramatically expanding its subjects and themes to include Japanese legend and folklore and scenes from everyday life. This rich visual vocabulary continues to inspire Hakuin’s followers.

Complementing this exhibition is a selection of work by notable women ceramic artists of the 20th-21st century.

Exhibition-Related Programming

Related programs will include noontime talks led by Lisa Rotondo-McCord, Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs and Curator of Asian Art, gallery talks featuring Rotondo-McCord and Rev. Michaela O’Connor Bono from Mid-City Zen, seminars, film screenings of Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring and Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, a Zen Ceremony in NOMA’s Great Hall with the New Orleans Zen Temple, and Zazen Meditation in the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden with Richard Collins from the New Orleans Zen Temple.

About NOMA and the Besthoff Sculpture Garden

The New Orleans Museum of Art, founded in 1910 by Isaac Delgado, houses more than 40,000 art objects encompassing 5,000 years of world art. Works from the permanent collection, along with continuously changing special exhibitions, are on view in the museum's 46 galleries Fridays from 10AM to 9PM; Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 10AM to 6PM; Saturdays from 10AM to 5PM and Sundays from 11 AM to 5 PM. NOMA offers docent-guided tours at 1PM every Tuesday - Sunday. The adjoining Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden features work by over 60 artists, including several of the 20th century's master sculptors. The Sculpture Garden is open seven days a week: 9AM to 6PM. The New Orleans Museum of Art and the Besthoff Sculpture Garden are fully accessible to handicapped visitors and wheelchairs are available from the front desk. For more information about NOMA, call (504) 658-4100 or visit www.noma.org. Museum admission is free on Wednesdays for Louisiana residents, courtesy of The Helis Foundation. Teenagers (ages 13-19) receive free admission every day through the end of the year, courtesy of The Helis Foundation. 

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