The Buddhist Heritage of Pakistan
Ancient Buddhist sculptures from Pakistan are now on view at the Asia Society Museum, after overcoming diplomatic hurdles that delayed the exhibit for six months. “The Buddhist Heritage of Pakistan: Art of Gandhara” presents sculptures, architectural reliefs, and works of gold and bronze dating from the first century B.C. to the fifth century. The exhibit includes some of the finest examples of Gandharan art ever found. Ancient Gandhara encompassed what is now northwestern Pakistan and part of Afghanistan. It was an international crossroads with a rich artistic heritage, including connections to the classical world. The region was important for its development of figurative images of the Buddha and Bodhissatvas, and images of scenes from the life of the historical Buddha. Most of the works here made the difficult trip from museums in Lahore and Karachi and have never before been exhibited in the United States, “The Buddhist Heritage of Pakistan: Art of Gandhara” remains on view until October 30th.
BAM Next Wave Festival
This week, the Brooklyn Academy of Music begins a year and half-long celebration of its 150th anniversary with a landmark work, and continues the tradition of innovative programming with the latest installment of its Next Wave Festival. Director William Christie returns to BAM with the acclaimed opera comique production of “Atys,” the Baroque opera that brought him and Les Arts Florissants international acclaim. Presented at BAM in 1989, this exquisite production of Lully’s work inspired a revival of Baroque opera and launched a twenty-year tradition of Christie presenting new productions at BAM. Also this week, the forward thinking and eclectic Kronos Quartet launches the Next Wave Festival with “Awakening: A Musical Meditation on the Anniversary of 9/11” – an evening of works from international composers.
Hundreds of arts and culture institutions marked the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 last weekend with special commemorative events. But some institutions are also looking to examine how the attacks have fundamentally changed the way we see the world. “September 11” at MoMA PS1 brings together more than 70 works, many made prior to 9/11. Several works explore commemoration and its rituals, while works created outside the context of disaster assume new meaning in the wake of the tragedy. “The Life and Death of Buildings” at the Princeton University Art Museum provides an indirect meditation on the anniversary by exploring the unique relationship between architecture, photography and time. Photographs capture the life cycles of buildings at particular historical moments and move us to contemplate our place in that history.
Montclair State University opened its innovative Peak Performances season this weekend. But things really heat up next week with the American premiere of Companhia Urbana de Danca’s “Chapa Quente” – loosely translated as “hot plate.” Sonia Destri’s all-male company made its U.S. debut last fall with its original mix of contemporary Brazilian dance and hip-hop. It won over audiences at New York City Center with “Id-Entidades,” or “Identities,” a work that will be performed again at this adventurous venue. Highlights of Peak Performances’ upcoming dance season include Wayne McGregor’s “Far” for his “Random Dance” group.
And finally, “First Irish,” the annual festival of Irish theatre, continues this week with a fresh slate of imported and homegrown plays — including a vegetable circus. Offerings at venues across the city range from the comic mayhem of County Sligo’s “Cirque de Legume,” where two clowns take on a box of vegetables, to the mint theater revival of Teresa Deevy’s award-winning play from 1932, “Temporal Powers.” Also on the program: a Belfast woman gives her account of “A Night With” actor George Clooney. And a 1904 theater company is on the cusp of historical change in “Dublin by Lamplight.”