Spring Review: Art on Paper| Munakata and the Disciples of Buddha

Spring is off to an exciting and busy start! We spent March 2nd through 5th at Manhattan’s Pier 36 bringing the Ronin Gallery to Art on Paper. As Asia Week began, we opened our newest exhibition, Munakata and the Disciples of Buddha to great success.

Inside Art on Paper. Source: Ronin Gallery.
Inside Art on Paper. Source: Ronin Gallery.

We were pleased to participate in this year’s Art on Paper, a medium-specific art fair with an eye towards innovation. Though we couldn’t bring the whole collection to the Art Fair, we captured the scope of Ronin Gallery, presenting works spanning from the 18th century to contemporary talents. Fresh interest and seasoned collectors alike coursed through the tri-walled booth throughout the four-day event. The fair provided an excellent opportunity to reach a new audience and share the art that we hold so dear. Thank you to everyone who stopped by and we hope to see you in the gallery soon!

Fair goers visiting the Ronin Gallery booth
Fair goers visiting the Ronin Gallery booth. Source: Ronin Gallery.
Ronin Gallery chairman Herbert Libertson and assistant director Travis Suzaka hard at work
Ronin Gallery co-founder and chairman Herbert Libertson and assistant director Travis Suzaka hard at work. Source: Ronin Gallery.

The excitement continued on March 7th with the opening of Munakata and the Disciples of Buddha. This exhibition invites you to explore the woodblock prints of Shiko Munakata (1903-1975) and to discover the Buddhist roots of Japanese woodblock printmaking. Culminating in his iconic series Ten Great Disciples of Buddha (1939), the exhibition considers the interplay of artistic tradition and religious practice behind Munakata’s groundbreaking work. From early Buddhist prints and the vivid world of ukiyo-e, to Munakata’s dynamic woodblock prints, Munakata and the Disciples of Buddha places this innovative master of modern woodblock printmaking within centuries of tradition. We were honored to be joined by Munakata's granddaughter, Yoriko Ishii for the opening reception.

Yoriko Ishii talking about her grandfather, Shiko Munakata.
Yoriko Ishii talking about her grandfather, Shiko Munakata. Source: Ronin Gallery.

Internationally revered as Japan’s greatest modern print artist, Munakata is renowned for his expressive lines, evocative use of monochrome, and the powerful spirit of his work. Active in both the Sosaku Hanga (Creative Print) and Mingei (Folk Art) movements, he remained independent, incorporating each ideology to create his own distinct style. Through his spiritual connection to Zen philosophy, Munakata extends a visceral link to the Buddhist origins of the woodblock print. As Munakata let the “mind go and the tool walk alone,” his work transcended basic stylistic and temporal characterization, connecting with centuries of woodblock printing to a pivotal moment in modern Japanese art.

Visitors enjoying the Ten Great Disciples of Buddha
Visitors enjoying the Ten Great Disciples of Buddha. Source: Ronin Gallery.
Munakata's iconic Ten Disciples of Buddha series.
Munakata's iconic Ten Disciples of Buddha series. Source: Ronin Gallery.

Thank you to all who joined us in March! Couldn’t make it? Not to worry. The exhibition will be on view in the gallery through April 29th and can be explored online here.

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