THE NEW WAY OF TEA Exhibition in New York

A joint exhibition entitled THE NEW WAY OF TEA, organized by the Asia Society and Japan Society in New York, in cooperation with the International Chado Culture Foundation in Kyoto, was held from on March 6 through May 19, 2002 at the Asia Society Museum and Japan Society Gallery. .
   This extraordinary exhibition explored the traditional aesthetic and ideals of the Way of Tea and their importance as a source of inspiration for contemporary artists, architects, and designers. IZUMI Masakazu, who is Chairman of the International Chado Culture Foundation and Executive Director of the Sabie Group, headed the organizing committee, and Urasenke provided major funding as well as much support in kind.
   Due to the ghastly events of September 11 in New York and other parts of the U.S.A., Izumi and others on the Japanese side had considered canceling the exhibition plans. However, the firm resolve of those involved on the New York side convinced them to carry them through. Especially because of the terror that had struck the city, it was more important than ever to realize the exhibition, as it would offer solace and hope to the people.
   The day before the opening of the exhibition, there was a press preview, and in the evening, an opening ceremony at the Japan Society. SEN Soshi flew in to New York for this; IZUMI Masakazu had already arrived some days earlier, to help oversee the setting up of the installations. At the press preview, SEN Soshi stated that chanoyu, throughout its 450-year history, has continued to change in response to the times, although its fundamental spirit, as shaped by SEN Rikyu, has been preserved. He said he hoped that viewers of the exhibition might gain a sense of one aspect of the prospects for chanoyu from now on. Furthermore, he offered the press representatives a fastidious explanation of the Konnichian tearoom -- a full-scale model of which was among the exhibits at the Japan Society. He also responded to an interview by CBS television.
   At the opening ceremony, held in the auditorium at the Japan Society and attended by 300 invited guests, SEN Soshi presented a special commemorative lecture and chanoyu demonstration. In his lecture, he spoke about the essence of the Way of Tea, and stated that the continuity of tradition is impossible without progressive innovation.

SEN Soshi at the press preview at the Japan Society

SEN Soshi explains to reporters about the Konnichian replica

IZUMI Masakazu at the press preview at the Asia Society

SEN Soshi narrates the chanoyu demonstration at the opening ceremony

Contemporary tea space designed by the late TANAKA Ikko

Display of fusuma paintings newly created by SENJU Hiroshi for Daitokuji Jukoin Betsuin temple
Visitors view the exhibits