A little over a month ago I attended a U.S.–China Museum Leaders Forum in Shanghai sponsored by Asia Society and The Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries. Alongside the conference we were able to visit the gigantic studio of the artist Zhang Huan near Shanghai. Some of these photos reveal the range of his work including monumental sculptures of unusual materials. The large scale painting based on a historical event is executed with the ash from incense and produced an overpowering aromatic presence. This brings to mind Zhang Huan’s ash covered sculpture head currently on view here at the Phillips. You can find it on the second floor in the installation A Tribute to Anita Reiner. The artist appropriates a material that resonates with meaning from Buddhist temple tradition.
Did you know that the Founder Duncan Phillips and his wife Marjorie had a painting studio in the upstairs of their house? Director Dorothy Kosinski explains how Phillips’s lifestyle and exceptional support of contemporaries like Arthur Dove, Ernest Lawson, and Rockwell Kent “shows the intensity of that relationship with the artist, the living artist, the practitioner. That’s obviously what made Duncan Phillips the happiest, the most engaged.”