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Eastern Art, Western Style


Arts of Pacific Asia, a show that combines contemporary art with thousand-year-old antiques, returns to the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium Friday through Sunday.

More than 80 dealers from around the world will be selling paintings, Chinese dragon robes, folding screens, furniture, baskets and statuary. With a strong Chinese and Japanese thrust, the show will also offer art from Tibet, Myanmar, Korea, Nepal and other cultures.

"Interest in Asian art has been growing for the last decade but really spiked in the last three or four years," said exhibitor Alan Pate, who started L'Asie Exotique, an Asian antique gallery, in La Jolla in 1994.

"There's an Asian zeitgeist in the air--maybe not everywhere, but particularly in New York and here in California with its enormous Asian diversity in population."

Not only is a growing New Age spirituality embracing everything from Buddhism to feng shui, he said, but interior designers have discovered that Asian art works very well with contemporary interiors and, to some degree, traditional ones.

"Both Japanese and earlier Chinese furniture have wonderful clean lines and simple natural woods that seem to bring some sort of spiritual dimension to a minimalist environment," Pate said. "The Asian textiles work very well in the home, too, with their powerful, focal images. And there's a rave right now for Japanese folk art known as mingei. "

The show, which is vetted (authenticated), attracts both serious collectors and casual shoppers, he said, with prices ranging from $50 to $50,000.

Pate, who has a master's degree in Asian studies from Harvard, will present one of three public lectures. On Saturday at 2 p.m. he will discuss "Collecting Ningyo: Discovering the Art of Antique Japanese Dolls."

Other lecturers are Robin Kennedy on "Western Influence on Japanese Art," Friday at 2 p.m.; and Dennis G. Crow on "10th Century China in Early Photographs," Sunday at 2 p.m.

Arts of Pacific Asia, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. Admission, $10. A special preview (tickets, $75) from 6 to 9 p.m. tonight will benefit the Far Eastern Art Council of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Information: (310) 455-2886.

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