Lying almost equidistant from the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the United States, Kansas City is hardly the place one would expect to find one of the finest collections of Chinese art in America. Although the Chinese art collection of the Nelson-Atkins Museum is not particularly large, it numbers only 8000 pieces, including masterpieces from every period and in almost every medium of Chinese art. The story of how this museum came to be the repository of such an exceptional collection is a fascinating combination of happenstance and foresight, and a testimony to the connoisseurship and scholarship of its first curator of Oriental Art, Laurence Sickman. It was Sickman who acquired many of the masterpieces, including Xu Daoning's Fisherman on a Mountain Stream, Li Cheng's Solitary Temple Amid Clearing Peaks, the stunning Cizhou Dragon Vase, and the Jin Dynasty polychrome sculpture of Guanyin of the Southern Seas, among many others.
Dr. Colin Mackenzie: joined the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in 2009 as Senior Curator of East Asian Art, having formerly held curatorial positions at the Yale University Art Gallery, the Asia Society Museum, and Middlebury College. He received his B.A. and Ph.D. from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and spent a year and a half studying at Beijing University during the early 1980s. Dr. Mackenzie's interests range widely from ancient China to contemporary Chinese art. He has published on early Chinese art and archaeology and has contributed to a number of influential exhibitions, including The Golden Age of Chinese Archaeology. Mackenzie co-edited the catalogue Asian Games: the Art of Contest (Asia Society, 2004). Since arriving at the Nelson-Atkins, he has reinstalled three galleries and has published Masterworks of Chinese Art: The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. He is currently working on an exhibition Visions of Eternity, to open in February 2013.
This lecture is jointly presented by The University of Hong Kong Museum Society and The Oriental Ceramic Society of Hong Kong.