SCMA’s increasing emphasis on Asian art during the last ten years has produced strength particularly in contemporary art, which is featured in Targan Gallery on the lower level of the Museum. Significant gifts of contemporary Asian art have been made to the Museum during this time, many from alumnae, whose collecting stories reflect their personal contact and engagement with the art of Asian cultures.
Among the generous gifts on display from a number of donors are works given by Joan Lebold Cohen (class of 1954) and Jerome A. Cohen, who assembled a collection of post-Mao art during their travels to China since the 1970s. In the rear of the gallery are selections from an extraordinary collection of contemporary ceramics by Japanese women artists, formed with Smith in mind by an anonymous alumna (class of 1965). Wan Kyun Rha Kim (class of 1960) is represented by gifts of art from post-revolutionary China as well as from her native Korea.
Students have also been vital to building the contemporary Asian collection. In 2008, the Korean American Students of Smith (KASS) approached the Museum with a proposal to purchase a work by a contemporary Korean or Korean-American woman artist. After a successful international fundraising effort, they acquired Yong Soon Min’s major installation Movement, with its colorful array of Pan-Asian recordings.
Image: Huang Yan. Born China, 1966. Chinese Shan-shui Tattoo, 1999. Fourteen C-prints. Gift of Ethan Cohen in honor of Joan Lebold Cohen, class of 1954, and Jerome A. Cohen. ID Number: SC 2012:54–14