Zen Art

Exhibitions and Demonstrations

April has been a busy month for me. On Friday, April 8, I did a demonstration of Zen calligraphy and a gallery walk-through for The Sound of One Hand: Paintings and Calligraphy by Zen Master Hakuin at the New Orleans Museum of Art. NOMA (noma.org) is back to a full schedule of programs and exhibitions. Both the museum and the city of New Orleans are vibrant once again, largely recovered from the tragedy of Katrina. Seeing how the city of New Orleans has rebounded reassures me that my former hometown of Sendai will do the same. The Hakuin exhibition will travel to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (lacma.org) from May 22, 2011 through August 14, 2011.

On April 11, I taught the final session of a four-part Zen calligraphy seminar at Linekona, the art school attached to the Honolulu Academy of Arts (artschool@honoluluacademy.org). The following weekend I taught a one-day aikido and Zen calligraphy seminar at Aikido of Hilo, the lovely dojo run by Barbara and Robert Klein (aikidoofhilo.org).

As for upcoming events, May 5–8, I will be in Nafplio, Greece, for an Arts Seminar (aikidoathens.gr). The seminar will include workshops on Aikido, Iaido, dance, Zen brushwork, and lectures. I will be conducting classes on Aikido, Misogi, and Zen brushwork, as well as lecturing on Zen art, and the founder of Aikido, Ueshiba Morihei.

In all of my calligraphy seminars, we first contemplate actual Zen scrolls for inspiration and instruction. Slides or posters will not do. We have to experience the nature and quality of the brushstrokes first hand. Often, the scrolls are from the Shambhala Zen Art Gallery. That is the reason the Gallery was established: to make genuine Zen art available in the flesh.

John Stevens (right) with coteacher Andy Kay discussing a giant enso brushed by John during the Linekona Zen Calligraphy seminar. Photo by Burt Lum.