The Third Mind: American Artists Contemplate Asia, 1860–1989

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Due to the redesign of, past exhibitions prior to 2008 are archived externally; visiting these pages will open a new window.


Gary Snyder: A Night of Poetry
Friday, January 30, 6:30 p.m.
The Pulitzer Prize–winning poet, mountaineer, and Zen Buddhist reads a selection of poems from his crisp, early book Riprap; a sequence from his book-length poem drawing on Chinese landscape tradition, Mountains and Rivers Without End; and some of his translations from T’ang China and modern Japan.

Georgia O’Keeffe and Asia: Intuition, Awareness, and Experience
Tuesday, February 17, 6:30 p.m.
Barbara Buhler Lynes, Curator, Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, and The Emily Fisher Landau Director, Georgia O’Keeffe Museum Research Center
In 1959, Georgia O’Keeffe made her first trip to Asia to experience a world whose aesthetics had long informed her art. This lecture explores both the intuitive and conscious manifestations of such aesthetics in her art, and how her fascination with the art and culture of Asia shaped the way she lived and thought.

John La Farge and Japan
Tuesday, February 24, 6:30 p.m.
Christine Guth, Professor, Royal College of Art, London
John La Farge’s interest in Japanese art began more than two decades before his 1886 journey to that country “in search of nirvana” and continued until the end of his life. Taking as its point of departure the watercolors and paintings generated by his Asian travels, this lecture explores the artist’s lifelong and multifaceted creative engagement with Japan.

The Beats, Psychedelia, and the Neo-Avant-Garde
Tuesday, March 24, 6:30 p.m.
Moderator: Lisa Phillips, Director, The New Museum
Participants: John Giorno, Constance Lewallen, Tom Marioni
In a lively conversation, artists and curators discuss the use and interpretation of Asian sources in the expression of postwar counterculture movements on the East and West coasts, and the ongoing legacy of equating art with an alternative consciousness.

Pico Iyer
The Light I Found
Monday, March 30, 6:30 p.m.
The celebrated author and writer on East and West speaks about his encounter with the art and Bollingen Fellowship documents of Isamu Noguchi. A conversation follows with curators Sandhini Poddar (Guggenheim Museum) and Bonnie Rychlak (Noguchi Museum), which traverses world history, religion, and politics, and brings us into the modern global order.

In conjunction with The Third Mind: American Artists Contemplate Asia, 1860–1989, an exhibition that illuminates the dynamic and complex impact of Asian art, literature, music, and philosophical concepts on American art, the Guggenheim Museum presents The Third Mind Live, a performance and lecture series that will bring world-renowned practitioners in the fields of dance, music, performance art, and theater to the museum’s theater and gallery spaces. Focusing on the artists’ relationships with Asia as a source of creative and conceptual inspiration, The Third Mind Live corresponds to the more than 200 works on view in the exhibition, and features several new and site-specific programs by American artists, including the world premiere of a work by Robert Wilson. Unless otherwise noted, tickets for performances are $30; $25 for members; $10 for students under 25.

Meredith Monk
Ascension Variations
Tuesday, March 5, 6:30 p.m. & 9 p.m.
For this one-night, site-specific performance, Meredith Monk will radically transform the spiraling galleries of the Guggenheim rotunda, adapting her most recent work, Songs of Ascension, to the museum’s unique geometry. Featuring Monk’s Vocal Ensemble, a string quartet, a chorus of over eighty singers, and dozens of dancers performing throughout the space, Ascension Variations comprises movement and sound that is constantly shifting and changing, evolving and expanding. Monk’s use of the museum’s architecture also recalls Juice, the history-making work that the composer, choreographer, and multi-disciplinary artist created for the Guggenheim in 1969. To celebrate her original work at the Guggenheim, Monk will incorporate elements of Juice into her Ascension Variations performance. $50; $40 for members; $20 for students.

Laurie Anderson
Transitory Life: Some Stories
Tuesday, March 12, & Friday, March 13, 8 p.m.
This new solo performance—a collection of adventure stories, poems, and music—has been created by Laurie Anderson specifically in response to the themes of The Third Mind exhibition. These pieces, drawn from her life’s work, reflect a sensibility she attributes to her “practice of attention” and interest in Buddhism. Set within the intimate space of the museum’s Frank Lloyd Wright-designed theater, Transitory Life promises to be a uniquely personal and compelling opportunity to experience Anderson’s world-renowned performance work. $30; $25 for members; $10 for students under 25.

La Monte Young, Marian Zazeela, and The Just Alap Raga Ensemble perform Young’s magnum opus Raga Sundara in the Dream House
Saturday, March 14 & 21, 9 p.m. (limited seating)
Featuring La Monte Young, Marian Zazeela, Jung Hee Choi, Da’ud Constant, voices; Charles Curtis, cello; Jon Catler, electric sustainer guitar; Naren Budhkar, tabla. The Just Alap Raga Ensemble, led by founding figures of minimalist music and light art La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela, will perform within the space of their Dream House, a continuous electronic sound environment in luminous fields of colored light currently installed in the museum as part of The Third Mind exhibition. Activating Dream House through live performance is an essential aspect of the artists’ conception; on these evenings, the ensemble will perform Young’s composition featuring extended alap sections and sustained vocal and instrumental drones in just intonation over tamburas. $30; $25 for members; $10 for students under 25.

Jung Hee Choi performs RICE, her site-specific multi-channel video and sound installation with “Composition in the style of La Monte Young’s 1960 sustained friction sounds” in the Dream House
Saturday, March 28, 9 p.m. (limited seating)
Jung Hee Choi, a disciple of La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela, will perform in a setting of her acclaimed video sound installation, RICE. This solo performance will take place within the space of Young and Zazeela’s Dream House, a continuous electronic sound environment in luminous fields of colored light currently installed in the museum as part of The Third Mind. $30; $25 for members; $10 for students under 25.

Merce Cunningham in conversation with Laura Kuhn
Dancers on a Plane

Tuesday, March 31, 6:30 p.m.
In a unique performance-conversation, Laura Kuhn, executive director of the John Cage Trust, speaks about Cage’s lifelong engagement with Zen Buddhism and how he developed the practice of using I Ching-inspired chance operations in his musical scores, poetry, and visual art, which allowed him to embrace unforeseen possibilities. Joining Kuhn in conversation, the legendary dance choreographer Merce Cunningham will be poised to discuss the use of chance in his own work, how his methods differ from Cage’s, and why. The evening concludes with a demonstration by Cunningham, who will work live with DanceForms, a specialized digital software program, to create a short choreographic phrase. $30; $25 for members; $10 for students under 25.

yoko ono in conversation with Alexandra Munroe
Passages for Light
Thursday, April 2, 6:30 p.m.
Artist, writer, composer, performer, and filmmaker yoko ono discusses her ideas on Asian art and thought with the Guggenheim’s Senior Curator of Asian Art and curator of The Third Mind, Alexandra Munroe. Known for her contributions to the development of Conceptual art, ono will also include a performance as part of the program, as well an interactive event with the audience. $30; $25 for members; $10 for students under 25.

Marina Abramović
Night Sea Crossing, a lecture
Tuesday, April 7, 6:30 p.m.
The celebrated performance artist Marina Abramović discusses the series of twenty-two Night Sea Crossing performances (1981–87) created with her former collaborator, Ulay (Uwe Layesiepen). Created after Ulay and Abramović had returned from a long period in the Australian outback, the performance work consisted of Abramović and Ulay seated in stillness and silence with a Tibetan Buddhist lama and a member of the Pintubi tribe from the Central Australian Desert. This performance piece was presented in nineteen different locations for a total of ninety days. Night Sea Crossing is among Abramović’s earliest tableaux pieces that layers time, presence, and mindfulness into a live collaborative moment for viewer and performer. $30; $25 for members; $10 for students under 25.

KOOL—Dancing in My Mind–World Premiere
Presented by Works & Process at the Guggenheim

Friday & Saturday, April 17 & 18, 7:30 p.m.
Robert Wilson, working with Carla Blank, creates a performance-portrait inspired by Suzushi Hanayagi, legendary Japanese performer and choreographer of classical dance. Wilson started working with Hanayagi in his 1984 production of The Knee Plays, which was partially developed in Japan. In 2008 he sought her out in an Osaka home for the elderly where she has been living for years in a state of dementia. Archival and newly filmed material of Hanayagi by Richard Rutkowski is combined with re-creation of performance material and newly choreographed dances performed by Jonah Bokaer and Illenk Gentille and others. The work reflects Hanayagi’s current state and serves as a poetic monument to a working friendship. KOOL—Dancing in My Mind is co-produced and co-commissioned by Works & Process; Guild Hall, East Hampton; and the Byrd Hoffman Watermill Foundation, with support from the Jerome Robbins Foundation. $30; $25 for members; $10 for students under 25.

Curator’s Eye
Following Fridays at 2 p.m.
Join Guggenheim Museum curators for tours of The Third Mind: American Artists Contemplate Asia, 1860–1989.
February 6 Sandhini Poddar, Assistant Curator of Asian Art
March 6 Alexandra Munroe, Senior Curator of Asian Art

Mind’s Eye
Free programs for partially sighted, blind, and deaf visitors
Following Mondays at 6 p.m.
Join Guggenheim Museum educators Georgia Krantz, Guthrie Nutter, and Ellen Edelman for a tour, discussion, and private reception. Separate programs presented through verbal imaging and American Sign Language. To register: 212 360 4355 or visit

February 2: Sections 1–4: Aestheticism and Japan; New Landscapes; Poetry, Dance, and Theater; Postwar Abstract Art

MARCH 9: Sections 5–7: Neo-Avant-Garde, Pure Abstraction and Ecstatic Minimalism, Performance Art and Experiential Present

Sumi Ink Painting Workshop
Saturday, March 7, 10 a.m.–1 p.m.
$60; $50 for members, includes tour, materials, instruction, and a packing tube to carry your paintings home; limit 16 participants. To register: 212 423 3637.
Led by The Third Mind artist Max Gimblett, this special workshop begins with an exhibition tour followed by a studio session using traditional handmade paper, sumi ink, and Asian brushes. Gimblett is internationally known both as an artist and teacher, and his approach to painting embraces both Eastern and Western philosophies, ancient symbols, and the transformation of materials. No previous experience necessary.

Open House
Wednesday, February 4, 3:30–6:30 p.m.
To register: 212 360 4231 or visit by Friday, January 31.
Join us for an afternoon of looking, learning, and mingling. Tour the exhibition The Third Mind: American Artists Contemplate Asia, 1860–1989 and learn about upcoming programs, receive curriculum materials, meet the education department staff, and enjoy a reception with colleagues. The Third Mind artist Max Gimblett also previews his sumi ink painting workshop with a special sumi ink painting demonstration.

Professional Development Workshops
For teachers of grades 3–12 in all disciplines
$25 per workshop; workshops can be attended individually or in a series; limit 25 participants
The Guggenheim Museum is collaborating with the Asia Society and the Noguchi Museum to offer professional development workshops and school tour programs that focus on the relationships between American art and Asia. At each museum, tour the exhibition and model activities that encourage students to look, discuss, write, and draw in response to works of art.

At the Guggenheim: Saturday, February 28, 10 a.m.–1 p.m.
The Third Mind: American Artists Contemplate Asia, 1860–1989
For information: 212 423 3637

At Asia Society: Saturday, March 14, 10 a.m.–1 p.m.
Asian Journeys: Collecting Art in Postwar America
For information: 212 327 9237

At the Noguchi Museum: Saturday, March 28, 10 a.m.–1 p.m.
Highlights from the Permanent Collection
For information: 718 204 7088, ext. 203

Teen programs are $100 per student (includes all materials). Tuition assistance is available upon request. No experience necessary; students must apply. For information and application: 212 423 3532 or visit

Digital Workshop
Drawing with Illustrator
9 Mondays, beginning February 23, 4–6 p.m.
Open to 9th–12th graders; application deadline Friday, February 6
After exploring the influence of Asian philosophies on American artists in the Guggenheim’s exhibition The Third Mind: American Artists Contemplate Asia, 1860–1989, participants address the same ideas in their own digital drawings using Adobe Illustrator to create several finished works.

Digital Workshop
9 Tuesdays, beginning February 24, 4–6 p.m.
Open to 9th–12th graders; application deadline Friday, February 6
Teen photographers explore the Guggenheim’s exhibition The Third Mind: American Artists Contemplate Asia, 1860–1989, discussing ways in which Asian philosophies have influenced American artists working in a variety of mediums. Participants then apply those same philosophies to their own photography, shooting digitally and adjusting their images using Adobe Photoshop.

Monday–Friday, March 23–27 or APRIL 13–17, 9 a.m.–4 p.m.
For ages 8–10
$400; $300 for members, includes 5 sessions, all art materials, snacks, a family pass, and a CD Rom with photos documenting the program.
This exciting and creative camp will spark your child’s imagination and foster his/her critical-thinking skills while exploring the exhibition The Third Mind: American Artists Contemplate Asia, 1860–1989. Led by museum educators, each session includes guided gallery explorations followed by hands-on workshops where children create their own works of art. Various mediums and methods, including painting, sculpture, collage, and digital media, in individual and collaborative projects, are carefully designed to provide age-appropriate projects.
To register and for information: 212 423 3637

Family Tour & Workshop
Sunday, March 29, 11 a.m.–1:30 p.m.
For families with children ages 5–10
$30 per family; $20 for members. Family members include 2 adults and 4 children ($5 for each additional participant)
Sumi ink painting with exhibition artist Max Gimblett. Using authentic materials, experiment with developing your personal approach to this ancient art.

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