Avant-garde Japanese Fashion Show and Samurai Exhibit at the Crow Collection of Asian Art

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Detail of a hoshi kabuto (riveted helmet), signed Neo Masanobu, Edo period (1615–1868), 18th century. Iron, lacquer, stenciled leather, braided silk, and metals including gold, gold leaf and shakudō. Crow Collection of Asian Art
Detail of a hoshi kabuto (riveted helmet), signed Neo Masanobu, Edo period (1615–1868), 18th century. Iron, lacquer, stenciled leather, braided silk, and metals including gold, gold leaf and shakudō. Crow Collection of Asian Art

The Crow Collection of Asian Art today unveiled its new, pedestrian-friendly entrance, lobby and street-level galleries while debuting two stunning Japanese exhibitions. Patrons visiting the free museum experienced Fierce Loyalty: A Samurai Complete, which showcases the Crow Collection’s most spectacular acquisition to date – a suit of samurai armor from the Edo period (1603-1868).Also, The Mary Baskett Collection of Japanese Fashion features avant-garde garments and accessories from the fashion revolution of the 1980s.

The new lower-level entrance, which faces Flora Street and is directly behind Liu Yonggang’s 18-foot-tall red steel Buddha, features an inviting floor-to-ceiling glass storefront designed to engage and draw street traffic into the museum. There’s also a new lobby – which expands the Garden Gallery and absorbs the space formerly housed by The Lotus Shop – accompanied by enhanced stairs to the upper galleries and reoriented bathrooms. The lower level was designed by Oglesby Greene Architects, which also created the Crow Collection’s outdoor sculpture garden last year.

As the Dallas Arts District grow busier and more vibrant, we realized this was a perfect opportunity to tear down the barriers of our Flora Street walls, add gleaming new windows and bring transparency into the museum,” said Amy Lewis Hofland, Executive Director of the Crow Collection. “Accessibility has always been important to us at the Crow Collection. From our commitment to free admission, to our continued outreach efforts in areas schools, festivals and businesses, we are working to bring Asia to Dallas by sharing our collection of beautiful and thought-provoking works of art – from centuries-old to boldly contemporary – with art patrons as well as people who work and live in the community.

The exterior also features a simple steel and glass canopy with illuminated edges on the Flora Street façade. It reinforces the transparent character of the new entry while providing weather and solar protection for museum patrons and artworks. In January, plans are to install an expansive, ultra-high resolution video display wall behind the reception desk. The wall will not only convey exhibition information but also serve as a canvas for international digital artists chosen by the museum. The display will be readily visible from the exterior day and night drawing the attention of passersby.

The Mary Baskett Collection of Japanese Fashion

Mary Baskett Collection of Japanese Fashion
Photo Credit: Can Turkyilmaz

The Mary Baskett Collection of Japanese Fashion, which opens Saturday and remains on view through February 22, 2015, drops the visitor into the world of the fashion revolution of the 1980s. On display are more than 20 garments and accessories by top Japanese designers including Issey Miyake,Yohji Yamamoto and Rei Kawakubo.

Mary Baskett, 2011. ©Eric R. Greiner, aeqai.com
Mary Baskett, 2011. ©Eric R. Greiner, aeqai.com

These garments are not only collected by Mary Baskett, but remain in her wardrobe. Baskett, a former curator at the Cincinnati Art Museum and now an art dealer, collects and wears these iconic pieces that feature the asymmetry, unconventional construction, raw edges, oversized proportions and monochromatic palettes that redefined the western concept of “chic.”

Informed in part by Japanese traditions such as the kimono, the art of origami and traditional textile dyeing techniques, these designers produce radical garments with shapes and textures often incongruous with the natural contours of the human body as perceived by Western cultures. In the 1980s, their designs effectively overthrew existing norms and set the stage for the postmodernist movement in the fashion industry.

Fierce Loyalty: A Samurai Complete

Detail from “The Battle of Yashima”, artist unknown, Edo period (1615–1868), 18th century. Detail from a pair of six-panel folding screens; ink, color, and gold paint on paper. Private Collection.
Detail from “The Battle of Yashima”, artist unknown, Edo period (1615–1868), 18th century. Detail from a pair of six-panel folding screens; ink, color, and gold paint on paper. Private Collection.

Housed in the appropriately named Samurai Gallery, Fierce Loyalty: A Samurai Complete was designed to complement one of the Crow Collection’s most recent and spectacular acquisitions – a complete set of samurai armor, one of the finest examples of its kind anywhere worldwide. On view Saturday, this exquisitely crafted and perfectly preserved suit of armor was originally created for Abe Masayoshi, the daimyo (powerful landholding ruler) of the Bingo province in Japan from 1715 until his death in 1769.

The exceptional quality and attention to detail applied to every aspect of the armor’s creation made this suit stand out as a garment of sophisticated refinement, and its wearer distinguished as a man of fine taste, setting him apart from other provincial daimyo.

In addition to components crafted by the best metalsmiths of the day, the armor includes a hoshi kabuto or a traditional Japanese helmet made by the renowned armorer Neo Masanobu. Gregory Irvine, Senior Curator in the Asian Department of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London remarked, upon viewing the complete armor and reviewing the provenance and detail, “Such an example of armor has never to my knowledge been offered before.”

The exhibition also includes a seventeenth-century pair of battle screens, which depict the important historical battle of Yashima from the Genpei war (1180–1185). Specific battles from this epic war – which led to the transition from the Heian period (794–1185) to the Kamakura regime – became popular as subjects for screens and paintings centuries later. These screens graphically depict the horrors of war during medieval Japan, with over 450 warriors in action, either on horses, in boats, running, or in the water, yielding their long swords and shooting arrows. Fierce Loyalty: A Samurai Complete is guest curated by Midori Oka, Research Associate, Department of Asian Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art.

GENERAL INFORMATION. The Crow Collection of Asian Art is open Tuesdays – Thursdays (10 a.m. – 9 p.m.), Fridays – Saturdays (10 a.m. – 6 p.m.), Sundays (12 p.m. – 6 p.m.) and closed on Mondays. Admission is free. For more information, please go to crowcollection.org or call 214-979-6430.

About The Crow Collection of Asian Art

The Crow Collection of Asian Art features a variety of spaces and galleries with changing exhibitions of the arts of China, Japan, India, Korea and Southeast Asia drawn from cultures ancient and contemporary. Just 15 years in operation, this lovingly curated free museum offers a serene setting for quiet reflection in the heart of the Dallas Arts District. The Crow Collection continues to grow in art and service to the Dallas-Fort Worth community with an emphasis on shared learning and fun.

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