Thomaï Serdari on Fine Arts & Luxury
“Longing for Luxury”

Courtesy of the Asia Society

The enduring sense of awe that certain luxury items induce on their viewers over time, and in different cultures throughout the world, is what distinguishes them from items that fall in and out of favor depending on historical or social circumstances. But shouldn’t true luxury be enduring?

The Asia Society’s exhibit, “Longing for Luxury: Chinese Ceramics from the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection,” by guest curator Lara Netting presents a unique opportunity for New Yorkers to experience luxury on several levels. (Asia Society exhibition page)

First, one takes into account the beautiful exhibition spaces at the Asia Society at 725 Park Avenue, and particularly the intimate space chosen to house these beautiful Chinese objects from the Rockefellers’ collection.  One can easily dedicate an hour to just this one room filled with treasures of the Ming and Song dynasties. Visual pleasure aside, the serious visitor will enjoy learning about the ancient techniques that inspired well-known Western European porcelain firms and that remain unsurpassed today.  So exquisitely written are the wall labels in this small exhibit, that one has trouble deciding where to look: at the labels that describe elaborate processes with such accuracy and precision that one’s imagination easily reconstructs the artist’s studio, or at the ceramic objects themselves, products and agents of innovation, artistry, and cultural sophistication?


The exhibition will be open through September 11, 2011, which gives everyone plenty of time to visit.

©Thomaï Serdari