An old Chinese man went to Yosemite and it blew his mind. To explain why, we have to go back a few thousand years. Chinese people have an old civilization. Older, perhaps, than anybody else’s civilization. That depends on how you define “civilization,” but who has the time to fight about these things? Point is, it’s old. Chinese art thus has a lot of tradition. Chinese artists predictably spend a lot of time coming to terms with that tradition. You study the old masters, you reject the old masters, you copy the old masters, you desperately try to ignore the old masters, you become the old masters.

“Mastering the Art of Chinese Painting: Xie Zhiliu (1910–1997)” Through August 1. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Xie Zhiliu was born in 1910 and he died in 1997…. More…