Chinese Art Resources
General Interest Museums
Seen through the lens of ethnography, the collection of Chinese art at the Museum of Natural History on display centers on a diorama of a traditional Chinese wedding.
From its beginnings the Brooklyn Museum has placed value in Chinese art and culture, as can be seen by its inclusion in the statues of the great civilizations displayed on the façade of its building. Highlights of the collection include cloisonné enamels, many from the Chinese imperial collection, and tomb figures. Unfortunately, the museums holdings are mostly in storage as the Asian galleries are presently closed for renovations.
The main highlight of this museum’s collection of Chinese art are birdcages that the Hewitt sisters collected in their travels.
Queens College’s Godwin-Ternbach Museum received private collector William Daghlian’s donation of 1,600 pieces of Chinese pottery, spanning its entire history, in 2012.
The International Center of Photography (ICP) holds a number of major innovative photos and video art produced since the mid-1990s in China in its collection.
One of the most comprehensive and largest collections of Chinese Art in the Western world, the Metropolitan’s collection is a great introduction for the complete novice while also satisfying the desires of the expert. The collection includes an extensive array of porcelain, tracing its technological and artistic advances throughout the centuries. The jewel of the collection is the Astor Chinese Garden Court, a re-creation of a Ming dynasty Chinese garden courtyard, and the culmination of the normalization of U.S.-China relations during the 1970’s. The court was constructed in by craftsmen from China in 1981 using traditional materials and methods in. Some other highlights of the collection are the immense Buddhist sculptures, lacquerware, calligraphy, paintings and stone carvings. Many of the miniature objects are displayed in Duo Bao Ge or Treasure Cabinets.
Part of the Snug Harbor Cultural Center, a former old-age home for sailors, and now a museum/cultural complex, the New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden is a true hidden treasure. Opened in 1999 by workers from Suzhou province in China, the garden is a compilation of different gardens from the Ming Dynasty and offers multiple views to the visitor as he or she walks through. Unlike the garden at the Metropolitan, the garden is in more “natural” outdoor setting.
Chinese Specific Museums
Founded by John D. Rockefeller III in 1956 to promote greater knowledge of Asian culture, the Asia society has centers throughout the United States and Asia, with headquarters on the Upper East Side of New York City. The Asia society has recently celebrated sixty years of collecting and displaying both Contemporary Asian and Asian American Art as well as Traditional Asian Art.
The Chinese American Arts Council established in 1975 to meet the cultural needs of the expanding Chinese community in New York City. It aims to preserve the Chinese heritage within its own community and to introduce its culture to the greater New York community. Today it is the largest Chinese American arts presentation and service. One of its projects, Gallery 456 was the first non-profit Asian art gallery in SoHo when it opened in 1989. The gallery presents new opportunities for emerging Asian artists to show their works while at the same time increasing their exposure to the main stream art scene within SoHo.
The China Institute’s Gallery was, when it was established in 1966, the first non-profit gallery in the United States to showcase Chinese art and culture exclusively. Now in a new downtown space in the Financial District the gallery features traveling exhibitions, many from China.
Founded in 1980 as the New York Chinatown History Project, this historical museum, designed by famed Chinese-American architect Maya Lin, displays art to explore how Chinese-Americans have expressed their multi-faceted identity.