Asia Week Celebrates the Diversity of Asian Cultures Through Art

This week, you don't need a passport to be transported to the Far East. You just need a MetroCard. Asia Week New York brings the world's top dealers, experts and institutions to the Upper East Side for an international celebration of all types of art originating from the other side of the world. 

"They have a, let's see a 5,000 year history, art history tradition and some of the most beautiful objects every produced," said gallery owner Walter Arader.

"You can come and see these firsthand, stand right next to it," said Asia Week Chairman Lark Mason. "No glass walls. No partitions separating you, right there with you."

The event sees 45 galleries and five auction houses open their doors to enthusiastic collectors.

"I always find an item," said art collector William Lipton. "There's beautiful material here."

"It's a great discovery whether you buy or not," said collector Ravi Saligram. "A thing of beauty is a joy forever and there are a lot of beautiful things here from around the world."

It also attracts museum curators looking for new acquisitions and Gallery owner Michael C. Hughes is happy to entertain their questions.

"They bring their trustees," said Asia Week President Michael Hughes. "They bring their patrons. And they are interested in everything and they really make an effort."

Not that every item on display is for sale.  Various museums around the city participate like the Rubin Museum in Chelsea, home to thousands of pieces from the Himalayan Region. 

With so many exhibits and works of art spanning centuries how do you take it all in? Curators and collectors say come with an open mind and open eyes and just let the art speak to you.

"Look at the art first, you can read the labels but sometimes its better to just let the art wash over you," Arader said.

"Just look at the things you like," said gallery owner Michael Hughes. "That's the easiest way to look at art.  You get more enjoyment out of it that way."

And who knows? You might be inspired to become a collector yourself. 

"To get a 28-year-old and this is their first experience at actually acquiring a work of art is exactly what we live for," said gallery owner Joan Mirviss.

Asia Week runs through Saturday. For a list of participating galleries, museums and auction houses visit the event's web site.

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