Thursday, June 16, 2016

Cleveland Museum of Art's Latest Acquisition: Seed Pods

Seed Pods by Sopheap Pich courtesy Cleveland Museum of Art

We got a sneak-peek at one of the Cleveland Museum of Art's most recent acquisitions during a tour of the institution's conservation lab for "Art & Mind," our June 2016 profile of director William Griswold.

Seed Pods, by contemporary Cambodian artist Sopheap Pich, is made with bamboo and rattan shaped using heat and then tied together with steel wire. Close inspection of the sculptures shows singe marks on the strips of bamboo.

Griswold saw Seed Pods while visiting Pich's studio outside Phnom Pen, the country's capital city. He was there with Indian and Southeast Asian art curator Sonya Quintanilla and museum trustees in February.

"We went to his studio and fell in love with this piece," Griswold says. "As we were driving away from his studio [in a bus], I got on the phone with his dealer in New York and said, 'We’ll take it.'"

Griswold — who's fond of Asian art — spoke about the work and the artist, whose work he was introduced to a few years ago at Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition, with reverence.

"He’s really an interesting guy," Griswold says. "I think it’s a wonderfully lyrical, incredibly accomplished piece. The actual technique and materials are related to materials that are used in Cambodia for fishing traps. And so these are materials which a Cambodian is intimately familiar. The materials are familiar, but their use in art is altogether new, and it’s really him."

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