GLENS FALLS — Imagery from hundreds-year-old Japanese art is reflected throughout modern Western culture, with video games, cartoons, graphic novels, and Modern art showing clear influences.
Ukiyo-e to Shin Hanga: Japanese Woodcuts from the Syracuse University Art Collection, an exhibition of more than forty prints of images epitomizing the transitory pleasures the art movement depicted, inspired special programming at The Hyde Collection, where the exhibition runs through December 30.
At 3 pm Saturday, November 17, The Hyde hosts a Japanese Tea Ceremony. Former Hyde trustee Milly Koh will introduce the history and philosophy of sacred Japanese tea ceremonies. The event, which is $5 for Museum members and $8 for non-members, includes samples of tea.
Later that afternoon, the Museum teams with Skidmore College Dance Department to present Floating World. Debra J. Fernandez and Jason Ohlberg depict a traveling progression of choreographic episodes inspired by and within the layered context surrounding ukiyo-e. Exploring the tensions that exist between the defining Buddhist concepts of sorrow and impermanence, and the sensory pleasures of the districts from which this art emerged, Floating World is a non-narrative response to the philosophy and processes represented in the art of ukiyo-e.
Performances will be held at 5:30, 6:15, and 7 pm. The event, which is made possible by the Skidmore Community Arts Grant Program, is free for Hyde members, Skidmore College staff and students with ID, and $15 for all others.
The Japanese word for the tea ceremony, chanoyu, means “hot water for tea.” It’s a ritualized, secular practice in which tea is consumed in a special space with codified procedures. The act of preparing and drinking matcha, the powdered green tea used in ceremonies, is a choreographed art. The intimate setting of the tea room — traditionally only large enough to accommodate four or five people, although at The Hyde event, it will be held in the auditorium — is often surrounded by a garden, so participants can separate daily distractions.
The interaction between the host and guests is a significant element. The host chooses objects specific to the gathering and uses them to prepare the tea for the guests, making each ceremony a unique experience. Ceramics — tea bowls, water jars, flower vases, and tea caddies are common— are chosen and valued for practicality and aesthetic qualities.
The tea ceremony as it is known today emerged in the sixteenth century as an elite artistic pursuit that allowed wealthy merchants, warriors, and rulers to convene and further social relationships.
“The Ukiyo-e to Shin Hanga exhibition gives us the opportunity to explore Japanese culture in new ways,” said Jenny Hutchinson, curator of Museum education and programming. “We’re lucky to have Milly as a Hyde member and friend to share her knowledge and heritage with us.”
Floating World performance is a partnership with Skidmore College’s Dance Department made possible through the Skidmore Community Arts Grant Program.
“It’s wonderful to be working with The Hyde Collection once again,” said Jason Ohlberg. “Working with the intimacy of the gallery space always presents unique opportunities to rethink and reconfigure the experience from an audience’s point of view; it’s one of the things we love most about collaborating with The Hyde.”
Admission to Floating World includes light refreshments and cocktails. Register for either event by contacting Kayla at 518-792-1761, ext. 310, or [email protected].