In the early 1920s, the Japanese scholar D. T. Suzuki became concerned that traditional Buddhist masters were “unable to present their understanding in the light of modern thought.” A philosopher and translator, Suzuki began writing books that made Zen concepts accessible to the West, and consequently inspired a generation of postwar artists and intellectuals—the composer John Cage, for instance, the critic Arthur Danto, the artist Robert Rauschenberg. But what of Buddhist art? Does it belong to religion or art history? And how does it connect with the present? In this exhibition the artists Chen Lizhu, Chu Bingchao, Liao Fei, and Shao Yi have each selected a Chan Buddhist text from the Tang or Song dynasty, which each will use to create a work that bridges medieval thought and contemporary visual culture. —E.C.
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