thumbnail of Asia Society presents; 48
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
Will society at present. This is a series of interviews with experts on Asian affairs designed to strengthen our understanding of Asian people and ideas. Your most on this transcribed series is a noted author and award winning broadcaster Lee Graham. Here now is Mrs. Graham. One of the world's great museums is the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. And as many of you know 1978 marks the 100th anniversary of the museum. It has come to our attention that the museum contains a tremendous collection of Ethan art a subject which fits very nicely into the theme of the 80s society presents broadcasts because we do want to bring not only a knowledge of Asian people to the west but an appreciation of the Fine Arts which they have created over the centuries. At the museum there is a collection of Eastern art which contains about 35000 objects. If you haven't
visited the museum to see this specifically I strongly recommend that you do that. And a man who was very much responsible for this is our guest on this program Mr. from Chow. Mr. Chow is associate curator in charge of the department of Far Eastern art at the Metropolitan Museum and he is one of 16 department heads in the entire museum. And Mr. Chao people who go to the museum do they often think in terms of looking for Asian art or do they think that something somehow is very exotic and perhaps still belongs in the Far East. Mrs. Graham I think now more than ever people come to our far eastern gallery because they find the contemplated a mood which is necessary in today's life. How is that created aside from the beautiful object is it in the way the rooms are
painted the way things are presented. We're trying to. Set up the objects for Ensign's in our two large sculpture galleries in such a way without going into a very literal sense of presentation to suggest the quiet to an arrangement which you will find in a Chinese temple. Well I see you've missed out you have been at the museum about 14 years I gather. Yes that's why this is coming on to 14 years but by training you are a painter at least you have been a painter. But you say that it is difficult for a man to be a curator at a museum and let himself have studied one of the arts and can express himself in it.
A number of my colleagues because they are trained art historians of this size know studying the history of art. I have the advantage of knowing how to express my feeling through a painting of pottery. Yeah which I have practiced for the past 25 years in this collection at the museum. What does it contain. I guess it is wider in the types of objects and we have realized they collection covers three main areas namely the Chinese and Japanese and they are the greater India. Of course that takes in
numerous other so-called minor hots like the textile furniture cop Jade Ivory Coast NE and the Nationals. And then there are the scarred kids and various ceramics. Yes the Metropolitan Museum is fortunate to have one of the most outstanding collections of Chinese sculpture outside of China and we also. Proud to have a large collection of Chinese ceramics which I will be re-install by I mean me and I hope. Many of the boosters and enjoy more or less the
entire chronology of Chinese ceramics used towards the end of the program. Perhaps you can give them a guide plan as to what they could expect what eventually will be the installation what they should look for. Meanwhile Mr Chow would you say that your collection of Far Eastern art is quite complete. Or that I should use a weak spot. Did you hear that every correction there are weak spots things you'd like to fill and that you're liking. Yes Mrs. Graham it is true that in like in many collections we do have gaps which the curators are trying to fill. And sometimes this cannot be done during a life time of a curator and it will be carried on. To the next. And so in a way we
who feeling only a small portion of our duties in the museum museum historically at me know chronologically begins at point three at 4000 B.C.. That's true of the oldest objects. Yes. From the Chinese. Chronology the oldest one would be a painted piece staright pottery which was which was found in North China. And they found the most beautiful nearly thick painted pottery in the world and they can be dated roughly from somewhere. Ranging three three thousand two 2000 B.C. and then you continue through history you know what period. Is there
anything contemporary in the pricing collection the collection more or less stopped that 19th century up to the pre starry pottery. We have the so-called wrong sculpture. A culture which was very high indeed because they had the people in those days can produce the most remarkable bronzes. They were used mostly for ceremonial purposes together with carved jade which was that much price in China and. And the post lying later. Why does the collection stop at the 19th. But perhaps middle of the eighteen hundred is. Was there nothing beautiful created after that so far as the museum is concerned.
I think it is the museum policy. Except for the American paintings and sculptures collection. Most of the potman stops at the 18th or 19th century as far as I'm concerned that's fine because I sad to say I don't find much in contemporary art which I think belongs in a museum. But then we don't want to get into that controversy. However how do you aquire these beautiful things. I mean many of them of course were there when you arrived and then built up over the past hundred years. But how do you acquire new objects. The acquisition of objects come in three main categories. One is by bequest and some but the leaf collections are not. How certain pieces to the museum
and the other is by give which we receive many beautiful objects. And the third category which coincides with your question which is so called purchase and the curator usually finds certain objects on the market whether it is from a deed or of from auction that is. That varies from time to time. But we as curator submits such pieces to the director and the purchasing committee to to act on they find though this edition whether or
the museum should purchase such an item. What other considerations the value and the scarcity. The reality is that the object as well as the price. I think the criteria in adding new works up is always based on whether it is beautiful because we are about all and not near him. And naturally the historical side and the rarity. Also enters into it. But if it's something beyond the Price thank you feel the museum feels it wants to pay then I have to let the object go oh are you not well endowed so that you can afford it.
Sometimes when we're lucky we. If the object is that I decide BL to be added to the collection at times trustees have contributed to it that the acquisition of such a piece or a group of people would contribute to such a fund. Like the time when we bought the painting by RAM drive that or the average day I thought Yeah right then that what that cost what out of 1 million that was it arson two million three hundred thousand to maintain that. Yes and it is believed that a hundred don't contribute to this
particular cause. There was a lot until recently in the United States was there that any object coming out of China had to have come out of China before 1950 that this country would not produce anything that might have been made in China after that time. What has happened I mean that must've made it difficult to acquire Chinese objects. Yes for years. All the museum in this country especially those. Who wanted to add Chinese art in particular feels that the law is saw the unfavorable to be the advancement of Chinese art and consequently a number of important that important objects
have gone out elsewhere namely Europe and Japan. Well how would those objects that come out of China at the present time. I mean number one not leaving China and then I don't think they're allowed to export these things outright. I'm not sure whether there are important objects. Coming out of China proper about a number of people that have come out of Red China as the record Gee naturally they have brought with them paintings post laying all Jade our people are allowed to leave China freely. When you hear of refugees coming through Hong Kong do they escape. It is illegal to do that in the past few years I suppose
a number of people I have come across the border illegally. But I think from what I can read in the newspaper they traffic. It has increased a great deal and this and the whole situation seem to have improved. When you look for an object then sometimes you're looking for exam time someone is presenting it to you or sometimes someone is offering it just to sell it to you. I guess mostly dealers. But if a person wants to present you with an object which may be worthwhile. How do you go about accepting what many people think I have something pretty I'll give it to the museum that the museum does not necessarily want it. That is true because most of the time even when the
object is very hind we already have duplicate in our collection. Therefore we cannot possibly take on more unless that the piece is much more superior than what we already have and therefore we sometimes have to decline a number of the kind offer. On the other hand very unusual objects have been given as they give all left to the new theme in people's will. That is sometimes by the part of the job of a curator to know what is in
private collections and what is going to come out on the market. And then it is said that I. Private thought the relationship between the curator and a great collector that sometimes these fine collection to come into the collection museum collect. A collector would spend sometimes a life time to build up a unique collection. And when he leaves that to his family or children who has not the same interests then the collection will disperse and.
And it's no longer a valuable unit. Also there is the benefit of the tax deduction isn't there if he gives it to the museum. Oh yes that of course is one of the most wonderful. Would you call all that. Yeah I'm abroad always the good life and I have established in this country and because of this this law. People is apt to give much more than without it. Yet how does that work exactly. If you decided to give an object which is very rare to the museum and
once the object is accepted by Howard Boyd. The current market value of the object can be established by the knowledgeable appraisers in the field. And and then the done can take that amount of his income tax which is. When I see a very nice in center. Yeah thank you. And then the. To think that the object would be preserved in perpetuity. With the donor's name attached to it too. Just a small bit of information about the expenses and you see him
now. The city of New York gives a certain amount to the museum doesn't it have many people I'm not quite sure about that. And I think what the museum doesn't need any contributions or membership that the city is paying for not how much does the city of New York pay for when it comes to the museum. As far as I understand it the city owns the building and maintains the building and the guard but all the rest. From the private coporation supplied by the museum and there's no tax I suppose on the property is not that the city owns it. It is tax free. It is yes it is tax free and I believe when the museum goes out to buy an object in an auction or from an art dealer. Also we
do not required to pay any city sales tax. Would you say that the Metropolitan Museum has one of the finest collections of prior Eastern art in the world. Are there other museums which happened a collections. I would think the Metropolitan Museum collection of values not is very good. Extremely strong in Chinese sculpture ceramics and. And bronzes and the Boston Museum of course is stronger in Chinese paintings because they have started earlier than we did. There is quite an extensive collection of price an artist in California out of San Francisco that mostly in the hands of private collectors.
A few years ago Mr. Avery Brundage gave his collection to the city of San Francisco. Now the the object is being housed in the new wing at the Young Museum. I don't know outside services go it is a beautiful collection and I urge everybody who goes to San Cisco to spend a little time to enjoy this. And I like people to spend considerable time at the collection which is here at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I'm sorry that our time is limited so that I did want to ask you about future plans if you have your department's collection. Could you say very briefly what that might in campus. Oh yes Mrs. Graham. By May we will have the. The great hall balcony re-install with a collection of
Chinese bronzes and ceramic and which include post-playing and pottery. And a year from the spring we will reinvest we'll plant a re-install. Chinese and Japanese collection as well as out of greater India. And I hope much that this will come about within two or three years until the space taken away at the present time for the 100th anniversary of the museum will be given back to you. We trust you know could I write much. I thank you very much Mr. Prantera for being on our program. And Mr. Chow is associate curator in charge of the department of Eastern art the Metropolitan Museum of Art. And next best thing to a trip to the Far East I think is seeing this collection in New York. Thank you very much and goodbye. Thank you. But concludes tonight's edition of the Asia Society presents with
Please note: This content is only available at GBH and the Library of Congress, either due to copyright restrictions or because this content has not yet been reviewed for copyright or privacy issues. For information about on location research, click here.
Asia Society presents
Episode Number
Producing Organization
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/500-mg7fw50m).
Other Description
Asia Society presents is a series of programs from WNYC and The Asia Society. Through interviews with experts on Asian affairs, the series attempts to strengthen listeners understanding of Asian people and ideas. Episodes focus on specific countries and political, cultural, and historical topics.
Talk Show
Global Affairs
Race and Ethnicity
Media type
Host: Graham, Leigh
Producing Organization: WNYC
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 69-6-48 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:30:00?
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “Asia Society presents; 48,” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed August 13, 2022,
MLA: “Asia Society presents; 48.” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. August 13, 2022. <>.
APA: Asia Society presents; 48. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from