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The Art Newspaper

Vessel Explored / Vessel Transformed - Tomimoto Kekichi and his Enduring Legacy

The Art Newspaper

Asia Week's 10th edition kicks off on 13 March across New York's commercial galleries, auction houses, museums and other cultural venues. When the event started in 2009, it was compromised of just 16 galleries on the Upper East Side looking to raise awareness of Asian art in the city's art market; now around 50 dealers across New York bring "a diversity and richness of material that hasn't been rivalled", says dealer Joan Mirviss, who founded Asia Week. The highlight of the week is often its open house weekend (16-17 March), during which participating dealers open their doors to the public.

This year, commercial galleries have welcomed "much more contemporary works of art, and have a greater range of works than I think we've ever had before", Mirviss says. At her eponymous gallery, she is showing the "free-spirited" ceramics of Japanese artist Tomimoto Kenkichi, known as an "ningen kokuhō" (living national treasure)- an informal designation by the Japanese government for individuals credited with boosting Japanese arts internationally.

 

Mirviss says: "Tomimoto "transformed the course of 20th century ceramics and the field of contemporary clay on a global stage, and he had some major credos, one of them being to not make pattern from patterns, and another to allow nature to guide inspiration." She adds that she felt it was important to mark the momentous anniversary of Asia Week with "something significant, not just recent acquisitions".