Translated Vases



…This vase is an assemblage of broken and rejected ceramics by Korean masters. Fitting these fragments from many different porcelain vessels together like a puzzle. Yeesookyung uses gold leaf to fill the cracks in the intuitively joined fragments… It is also a pun. It plays on the Korean homophone of “gold” (geum) and “crack” (geum). You could say that in this object, the valuable and the defective, like gold and broken shards, become one.

From the Smart Museum. 

Landscape and Poem: Mooring at Twilight in Yuyi District by Wei Yingwu (737–792)

On this album leaf, the inscription is excerpted from a compilation of early Chinese poetry called 300 Tang Poems and reads: 

People are coming home, 
The outline of the mountain peak darkens, 
Wild geese fly down to a field of weeds under the moonlight. 

Painted with a free brush by Su Gon [a studio name] 

In this painting brushed in ink and light color by the military official An Jae-geon, individual motifs of the landscape respond to the narrative and setting of the evocative poem by the 8th-century poet Wei Yingwu inscribed at the upper right: a full moon, a band of descending geese, two scholars meeting at a bridge, and the dark contour of a cliff with path souring above a bay.

An Jae-Geon,Korean, 1838–?, Landscape and Poem: Mooring at Twilight in Yuyi District by Wei Yingwu (737–792),Late 19th/early 20th century, Leaf from a dispersed album, brush and ink and light color on paper. Smart Museum of Art, The University of Chicago, Gift of Mrs. Geraldine Schmitt-Poor and Dr. Robert J. Poor, 1995.80.

15-year-old catches math error at the Museum of Science

Joseph Rosenfeld was looking at the exhibit at the Museum of Science—an exhibit more than twice his own age—when he saw it.

The math was wrong.

When the Virginia high schooler recently came to Boston on a family trip, he visited the museum with his aunts. Joseph noticed the error in an equation for theGolden Ratio, part of the “Mathematica: A World of Numbers…and Beyond” exhibit. There were minus signs where there should be plus signs.

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Ridge Tile - Ogre Mask

8th-9th century

From the Unified Silla Period

A crisply molded ogre face adorns the front of this stoneware roof tile. Despite the beast’s fierce bulging eyes, angry grimace of sharp, bared teeth, and the spiky mane, this demonic mask was mostly likely made to be a benevolent, protective creature. Scholars today believe that gwimyeon may represent mythic dragons who dwelled in water and misty-filled skies and that such tiles were originally affixed - through the large round hole visible in the ogre’s forehead - on the tiled roofs of wooden palaces and other important buildings to guard against fires.

From the Smart Museum of Art.


Wild Geese and Reeds

The subject of wild geese in spirited interaction among blowing reeds alongside the banks of a river or lake derives from the celebrated theme of painting and poetry known as the “Eight Views of the Xiao and Xiang Rivers”—formulated in China during the 11th century and popular in Korea since the 15th century. Works based on the “Eight Views” extolled the beauty and melancholy of the mountains, rivers, and marshes of a remote region of China, favored by scholars as a place of retreat, reclusion, and on occasion, exile from the imperial court.  

Kim Yun-Bo (studio name: Il-Jae), Korean, active late 19th/early 20th century, Wild Geese and Reeds, undated, Ten-panel folding screen, brush and gold pigment on black silk brocade. The Smart Museum of Art, The University of Chicago, Purchase, Paul and Miriam Kirkley Fund for Acquisitions, 2007.102.


More Art Monday: Collection Travelogue

Some of the works in our collection have accrued impressive mileage while traveling to exhibitions in other museums both near and far. Which ones have you visited? Brought to you by ART 24/7:

Image 1: “Black Kites,” Gabriel Orozco, 1997. © Gabriel Orozco.
Location: Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden
On view: 2/15/14 – 5/4/14
Distance: 4,010.86 miles

Image 2: “Portrait of E. Vestell’s Left Eye,” Artist/maker unknown, English. c. 1800-1810.
Location: Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, New Brunswick, NJ
On view: 1/25/14 – 7/13/14
Distance: Distance: 52.7 miles

Image 3: “The Six Elements,” by Rene Magritte, 1929. © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
Location: Menil Collection, Houston, TX
On view: 2/13/14 – 6/1/14.
Distance: 1,341.39 miles

Image 4: “The Bucintoro at the Molo on Ascension Day,” by…
Canaletto, c.1745.
Location: Portland Art Museum, Oregon
On view: 2/12/14 – 5/11/14
Distance: 2,408 miles

Image 5: “Dish- Scene from Romance of the Western Chamber,” Artist/maker unknown, Chinese. Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Kangxi Period (1662-1722)
Location: David and Alfred Smart Museum of Art, Chicago
On view: 2/13/14 – 6/8/14
Distance: 664.44 miles

Image 6: “Untitled (Male Mannequin Heads),” by Umbo, c. 1928 (negative); 1980 (print). © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst
Location: Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, Maine
On view: 2/27/14 – 6/8/14
Distance: 382.73 miles

Image 7: “Self-Portrait with Palette,” by Pablo Ruiz y Picasso, 1906. © Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Location: Fundacion MAPFRE, Madrid, Spain
On view: 2/10/14 – 5/11/14
Distance: 3,664.63 miles

Image 8: “Livorno, Italy,” by Henri Cartier-Bresson, c. 1933.
Location: Centre George Pompidou, Musee National d’Art Moderne, Paris
On view: 2/12/14 – 6/9/14
Distance: 3,711.54 miles

Image 9: “Large Seated Nude,” by Henri Matisse, 1922-29. …
© Succession H. Matisse, Paris / Artists Rights Society (RS), New York
Location: Palazzo dei Diamante, Ferrara, Italy
On view: 2/22/14 - 6/15/14
Distance: 4,226.33 miles

Image 10: “Untitled (Multiple-exposure Nude),” Man Ray, 1930. © Man Ray Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
Location: Museum Boijimans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Netherlands
On view: 2/8/14 – 5/25/14
Distance: 3,721.96 miles

High-tech Pen enables visitors to ‘collect’ design objects

The best museums and art galleries seek to spark interest and questioning in their visitors, but searching out extra information via smartphones can often ruin the immersive magic of the space — disconnecting viewers from the objects and artworks themselves.

Launching soon, the recently reopened Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York is attempting to rectify this problem by offering its patrons a delayed interactive experience — enabling visitors to digitally ‘collect’ objects that interest them with a high-tech stylus Pen and explore those objects at the end of their visit on ultra high definition touch screen tables. READ MORE…

‎"Untitled" (Portrait of Ross in L.A.)
Félix González-Torres
Smart Museum

This exhibit touched me much more than any other work in any museum I have ever visited. It physically hurt to see others eat the candy and throw the wrappers back in the pile without even reading the incredibly poignant description. It’s terrifying to think that a human being is reduced to just a pile of candy. The pile diminishes in size like how Laycock’s condition deteriorated, but González-Torrez has granted him eternal life. The pile of candies also represents the gay community as a whole and the ravaging effect of AIDS. Participants are unknowingly partaking in a form of communion, and their ignorance of the significance of eating the candy reflects society’s ignorance of the AIDS epidemic as the community slowly diminished in size. A marvelous, bittersweet exhibit.
I saw this exhibit during the Court Theatre’s run of Angels in America and I’m also taking a queer history course, so memories of this this exhibit will stay with me for a very long time.


Flask with Waterfowl and Plant Decoration

The robust glazed stoneware of the Joseon dynasty called buncheong is an outgrowth of earlier Goryeo celadon pottery. The inlaid black-and-white slip paste designs (a technique called sanggam, in Korean) and overlying celadon glaze of the flask are based on Goryeo pottery practice. In technique, subject, and style, this small flask is an especially instructive object of cultural transition from the refined Goryeo aesthetics of the Buddhist court and aristocracy to the prevailing Neo-Confucian ethics of the early Joseon dynasty that demanded wares of a simpler nature.  

Korean, Joseon Dynasty(1392–1910) Flask with Waterfowl and Plant Decoration, First half of 15th century, Glazed stoneware (buncheong) with black and white clay inlaid decoration (sanggam). Smart Museum of Art, The University of Chicago, Gift of Brooks McCormick Jr. 2003.7.

Judy Ledgerwood’s Chromatic Patterns will be on display at the Smart Museum of Art now through Spring 2015. The Chicago-based artist and her assistant painted this site-specific work directly on museum walls, drawing inspiration from tapestry and the clean, modern design of the museum itself. 

UChicago students, as always, get FREE admission to the Smart Museum, located just north of the quads. 


New video! 

In which we explore our neighboring city of Chicago, film with two local artists, and see more art in one day than is probably advisable.

Featuring @mcachicago@smartmuseum@elmhurstartmuseum, the Chicago Cultural Center, Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art, the Stony Island Arts Bank and more!