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Smile of the Buddha

Eastern Philosophy and Western Art from Monet to Today

Jacquelynn Baas (Author), Robert Thurman (Foreword)

Available worldwide

Hardcover, 310 pages
ISBN: 9780520242081
September 2005
$58.95, £43.95
Smile of the Buddha explores the influences of Asian world-views and particularly Buddhism on the art of Europe and America in the modern era. In an informative and perceptive introduction and essays on twenty well-known artists, Jacquelynn Baas analyzes how the teachings of the Buddha offered alternatives to Western intellectual conceptions of art and traces the various ways this inspiration materialized in artworks. The influence of Buddhism on art from the last quarter of the nineteenth century to the present has been greater than historians and critics generally recognize, Baas claims. Considering essential questions about the relationship of art and life, this timely and beautifully illustrated book expands our perspective on how spirituality and creativity inspire and inform one another. Baas's insights and the images she presents give the reader a new understanding and appreciation of a diverse array of Western artworks.
List of Illustrations
Foreword by Robert A.F. Thurman
Acknowledgments
Introduction

I. THE INFINITE MOMENT
Claude Monet, 1840–1926
Vincent van Gogh, 1853–1890
Paul Gauguin, 1848–1903
Odilon Redon, 1840–1916

II. OTHER DIMENSIONS
Wassily Kandinsky, 1866–1944
Constantin Brancusi, 1876–1957
Marcel Duchamp, 1887–1968
Georgia O’Keeffe, 1887–1986

III. THE SPACE OF ART
Isamu Noguchi, 1904–1988
Ad Reinhardt, 1913–1967
Yves Klein, 1928–1962
Jasper Johns, 1930–

IV. THE SOUND OF THE MIND
John Cage, 1912–1992
Nam June Paik, 1932–
Yoko Ono, 1933–
Laurie Anderson, 1947–

V. LIGHT AND INSIGHT
Agnes Martin, 1912–
Robert Irwin, 1928–
Vija Celmins, 1938–
Richard Tuttle, 1941–

Notes
References
Index
Jacquelynn Baas is an independent scholar and Director Emeritus of the University of California Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. She is the coeditor of Buddha Mind in Contemporary Art (California, 2004) and coauthor of The Art of Joan Brown (California, 1998) and José Clemente Orozco in the United States 1927-1934 (2002). Robert A. F. Thurman is a prolific author and translator of both scholarly and popular works. He is the Jey Tsong Khapa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies at Columbia University and Director of Tibet House in New York City.
“Considering essential questions about the relationship of art and life, this timely and beautifully illustrated book expands our perspective on how spirituality inspire and inform one another. Baas’s insight and the images she presents give the reader a new understanding and appreciation of a diverse array of Western artworks.”—True Budda Blog
“A pioneering effort that overall achieves its goal of employing a new perspective to appreciate modern art.”—Art Documentation
“Baas’s discerning eye and thorough research keeps her enthusiasm for discovering Buddhist elements in modern art from straying too far into the speculative. . . . Baas provides a balanced assessment of the ways meditation practice influenced their art and the ways their art influenced their practice of meditation.”—Benjamin Bogin Buddhadharma
“Generously documented and illustrated with restraint, this book offers a new perspective and a fascinating and engaging examination of a wide variety of art forms, all linked by the common theme of their creators’ awakening.”—Choice
“Smile of the Buddha makes for an important addition to contemporary art writing. For those readers who already value the meditative qualities of contemporary art, there is much to savor in these individual spiritual journeys. Early in her book Baas points out that Buddhism, like art itself, ‘challenges thinking as a path to knowing.’ Her sensitive and sympathetic readings of both suggest that she takes this wisdom to heart.”—Commonweal
"The relations between eastern and western cultures have long been a neglected topic, and this careful and intelligent look at a small but significant part of those relations is most welcome."—Thomas McEvilley, author of The Shape of Ancient Thought

"How wonderful that Jacquelynn Baas has seen the light of the Buddha's smile shining from faraway Asia into the realm of the art of modern times in what we think of as the West! . . . Her work reveals how some of our most influential artists explored and expressed the sophisticated perceptions and joyful energy emanating from the realm of Buddhist Asia."—Robert A. F. Thurman

"As a Buddhist scholar and artist I welcome this thoughtful and richly detailed study of how many aspects of Buddhism have stimulated, invigorated, and enriched Western arts over the past 150 years."—Stephen Addiss, author of The Art of Zen

"A crucial contribution to modern art studies, this high-spirited text surveys Western artists awakened by the wisdom of the East, from Monet and Duchamp to O'Keeffe to Martin. It is a thoughtful book about thoughtful artists, their values and their visions, with a lot to offer general readers and specialists alike."—Charles Stuckey, Associate Professor of Art History at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago

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