“Mind Over Matter: Zen in Medieval Japan,” at the Freer Gallery of Art (an arm of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art), is a show of ravishing absence: a stark and beautiful exhibition where form is plunged into silence, and the ego dissolves into empty space. Large and majestic screens support landscapes almost impetuously spare. Kanji tumble down calligraphy scrolls. Cracked teacups become portals to a world of impermanence.
It offers a fine introduction to Japanese (and some Chinese) painting from the 14th to 17th centuries, but there are other reasons you may find it worth your visit. Really, this is the exhibition for anyone in 2022 wishing that the anxious, gasping world outside would just shut up.