An Internet Dialogue on Kites As Subject Matter for Fine Art

Authors: 
Ben Ruhe
Authors: 
Scott Skinner
Authors: 
Jim Hannah
Article type: 
Journal

Jim Hannah (Tottenville, Staten Island, New York): The cover of the American Art Review for last June is worth noting. It’s a painting of the banners and carp flown traditionally by Japanese households on a day in May to honor their children. Formerly it honored only sons, now it honors daughters too.

Kites depicted in art, as opposed to art on kites or art kites, is something about which I have little information. I can’t remember seeing a kite in any of the works of art I’ve viewed in museums in New York, Philadelphia or Boston. Yup, I'm a museum freak. I know the examples of kites in Japanese art depicted in Tal Streeter’s books, but Western art seems to be remarkably kite-free.

Ben Ruhe (Rockport, Massachusetts): Part of the answer surely lies in the fact that kites are not part of the Western culture as they are the Eastern. Also, the emphasis in art in museums for more than a century has been abstraction. Beyond that, kites imply joy and simplicity, a naive and romantic view of life; Western art has not had much truck with such concepts for a long time. Long ago Auden spoke of our living in an Age of Anxiety and kites do not fit in that world at all.

Page Number: 
32