Replica, Originality, and the Art of Devotion
A panel discussion with Marcus Boon, John Giorno, Ariana Maki and Tsherin Sherpa
Organized by Wen-Shing Chou and Sarah Watson
Presented in conjunction with the exhibition Ugo Rondinone: I ♥ John Giorno for the chapter “John Giorno and Tibetan Buddhism” with works by John Giorno and Ugo Rondinone and thangkas selected from the collection of the Rubin Museum of Art
Thursday, October 12, 2017
205 Hudson Gallery
Hunter College Art Galleries
205 Hudson Street
New York, NY 10013
Entrance on the south side of Canal between Hudson and Watts
Created in the forms of paintings and sculptures, Tibetan Buddhist images are part of a sophisticated artistic and religious tradition whose efficacy is underscored by the interconnected concepts of replication and originality. This conversation positions the image-making tradition in relation to the acts of copying, repetition, and rehearsal that have been central to contemporary art and culture. The aim is to offer fresh perspectives on Tibetan Buddhist images that have rarely been understood outside of their cultural and devotional contexts, and to forge new connections between different spheres of artistic practice, both traditional and modern.
Marcus Boon is a writer and Professor of English at York University in Toronto. He is the author of The Road of Excess: A History of Writers on Drugs (Harvard, 2002); In Praise of Copying (Harvard, 2010); and is a co-author with Timothy Morton and Eric Cazdyn of Nothing: Three Inquiries in Buddhism (Chicago, 2015). He is co-editing a book on Practice with Gabriel Levine (MIT/Whitechapel, forthcoming) and is currently finishing a book on sound and ontology called The Politics of Vibration.
John Giorno is an artistic innovator who has been defying conventional definitions of poet, performer, political activist, Tibetan Buddhist, and visual artist since he emerged upon the New York art scene during the late 1950s. In the 1960s, he began producing multi-media, multi-sensory events concurrent with Warhol’s Exploding Plastic Inevitable. He worked with Rauschenberg’s Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T) in 1966, and with Bob Moog in 1967–68. His breakthroughs in this area include Dial-A-Poem, which was first presented in 1968 at the Architectural Society of New York, and was later included in the MoMA’s Information exhibition in 1970. His contributions are significant to many culturally defining moments: the Beat generation, Pop Art, Punk, the Pictures Generation, and the hip-hop era. Giorno’s work is included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; the Musée National d´Art Moderne, Paris; and the Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane; among others.
Ariana Maki holds a Ph.D. in Art History with a focus on Buddhist Art and specializations in Himalayan and South Asian art, as well as a minor concentration in Islamic art and architecture. She is presently a Research Scientist in Religious Studies at the University of Virginia. She is also Associate Curator of Himalayan Art Resources and maintains a research affiliation with the National Library and Archives of Bhutan. Maki's research interests include the relationships between text, politics and visual representation, the development of Himalayan visual arts, and the intersections of art and ritual.
Tsherin Sherpa was born in Kathmandu, Nepal in 1968 and currently works and resides in California. From the age of 12, he studied traditional Tibetan thangka painting with his father Master Urgen Dorje, a renowned thangka artist from Ngyalam, Tibet. In 1998, Sherpa immigrated to California, where he taught traditional thangka painting at various Buddhist Centers until he began to explore his own style, reimagining tantric motifs, symbols, colors and gestures placed in resolutely contemporary compositions. He has exhibited internationally, including in the 1st Kathmandu Triennale of Contemporary Art, Nepal (2017); the 8th Asia Pacific Triennale of Contemporary Art, Brisbane (2015); 2nd Dhaka Art Summit, Bangladesh (2014); the Queens Museum of Art, New York (2014); MASS MoCA, North Adams (2014); the Songzhuang Art Center, Beijing (2010); and the Rubin Museum of Art, New York (2010). His works are in many collections in Europe, America and Asia, including the Queensland Art Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco; the Samdani Art Foundation, Dhaka; and the Rubin Museum of Art.