On view at LACMA from May 22, 2011–August 14, 2011, Hakuin Ekaku (1685-1768) is widely acknowledged as the most important Zen Buddhist master of the past 500 years. He was also the most influential Zen artist of Edo-period (1615-1868) Japan, but unlike the highly studied monk painters of earlier centuries, he received no formal artistic training beyond the basic skills in handling brush, ink, and paper that were required for everyday writing.
Hakuin’s self-taught, spontaneous, yet masterly and inspired painting and calligraphy, just like his teachings and writings, expressed the mind and heart of Zen for monks and lay followers alike. With the aim of reaching out to people of all social and economic classes, rather than just the élite, he invented a new visual language for his religion, depicting everyday subjects and themes from other Buddhist sects, as well as Zen patriarchs and masters.
For this first exhibition in the West devoted to Hakuin, nearly 80 of his scrolls will be gathered from collections in the United States and Japan. Organized in collaboration with New Orleans Museum of Art, and curated by Audrey Yoshiko Seo and Professor Stephen Addiss. The Los Angeles presentation is made possible by LACMA’s East Asian Art Council.
For more information, visit lacma.org Video production: Alexa Oona Schulz
To view more of Hakuin’s paintings click here.