Today it is simply . . .
i m a g i n e
p e a c e
Everything is dangerous, and in one minute our lives could be transformed immeasurably regardless of our economic or educational status, ethnicity or gender. Disasters define our humanity; as French author Marcel Proust wrote: “Disaster puts one in touch with oneself: suffering fuels creativity.” However, in a morbid way, disasters do unify us as a people, and unfortunately, tend to be more unifying than art.
When I’m not art critiquing, I’m writing TOEFL tests. Recently I wrote about the lack of gender equity in the STEM fields: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. However, once consciousness was raised and intervention programs occurred, the scores and interests of both boys and girls vastly improved.
And so it is for the arts. Without a Guerrilla Girl-type consciousness, the art world is still having women underrepresented in gallery and museum exhibitions and under-reviewed in print media. See http://anaba.blogspot.com/ for a similar discussion.
Unfortunately, this is not an issue that was resolved in the 20th century, but still ongoing. As artists, critics, curators, art consumers, etc., we need to be aware of this disparity and work on improving the gap as it will just make life better for everyone.
Posted by Susan at 3:39 PM
Cai Guo-Qiang's fireworks extravaganza at the APEC meeting, Shanghai, 2001. Photo courtesy http://www.caiguoqiang.com/
According to Bloomberg.com, Hong Kong Christie's brought in $US 108.3 million on the first day of a five-day sale.
Cai Guo-Qiang's work, a set of dynamite drawings commissioned for APEC sold for HK$74.2 million.
Christie's recent sales show that Chinese art is hotter than Western art.
Of course, as an art audience we shouldn't be seduced by dizzying prices, but try and understand the value of art, and I don't just mean the market value.
Posted by Susan at 11:50 PM
In 1985 to conceive of Beijing as a center for contemporary art would have been a fanciful and preposterous idea. How much the world changes in such a short time-frame.
An ambitious art space opened earlier this month. The Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) founded by the Belgian baron and baroness Guy and Myriam Ullens is in a huge factory building, Bauhaus style in the popular 798 art zone.
This is the only non-profit privately funded art organization in China. Architects Jean-Michel Wilmotte and Ma Qingyun renovated the 8,000 square meters with 31 foot-high ceilings. Famed curator and critic Fei Dawei is the newly appointed artistic director.
The inaugural exhibition '85 New Wave: The Birth of Chinese Contemporary Art focuses on the time period where it was extremely difficult for artists to make avant-garde works and which prompted an exodus of artists to the west such as Huang Yong-ping to Paris and Xu Bing to New York.
Posted by Susan at 10:11 PM
Posted by Susan at 4:13 PM
Posted by Susan at 5:49 PM
Posted by Susan at 11:00 PM
Then there's the (C) Murakami retro currently at LA MOCA with its Louis Vuitton shop and high commerce marketing tie-ins.
Art at the high end of the market functions a lot like the famed Hello Kitty image.
Hello Kitty does not have a mouth, so her face does not show emotion. It gains strength and resonance by viewers who read their own psychological readings into it. The Hello Kitty image is like a mirror and reflects the viewer's own empty wishes and desires back.
Don't you think Koon's Hanging Heart (Magenta/Gold), for example, operates in a similar vein? It is fairly vapid in meaning and seems to reflect back its ostentatious feelings of wealth to the viewer (potential owner), kind of giving a metaphorical pat on the fat cat's back "greed is good; wealth is good. Don't think too much."
Writer Andrew Berardini writes on his blog (uber.com/andrew) about not being swayed by the art market and for the need for holding art to the same standards of literature:
"When market decides quality, and curators get in bed on this to satisfy trusties something wicked this way walks. These definitions can be based, somewhat, on the same definitions as literature. Art that is made for a high-end market with little actual significance and of substantially lower intellectual quality or complexity are the pulp. Complex art works of rich intellectual quality are the literature."
Posted by Susan at 5:31 PM
Posted by Susan at 11:42 PM
Posted by Susan at 12:51 AM
Somedays, the arts pages resemble the sports pages in terms of misdeeds. The Nov/Dec issue of Art AsiaPacific has good coverage on the recent art scandal that rocked Seoul, Korea.
It turns out that Shin Jeong-Ah, the chief curator at Sungkok Art Museum lied about having a PhD from Yale. And her BFA and MBA degrees from the University of Kansas turned out to be fraudulent too.
When this came to light, Shin's curator position and her appointment as artistic co-director to the 2008 Gwangju Biennale were revoked.
In this day of computerized databases and internet search engines, why would anyone be so brazen to fake credentials?
Posted by Susan at 11:34 PM
Here are photos from my latest interactive project titled Love/Hate that was exhibited at Taipei MOCA's Fashion Accidentally exhibition in May 2007. Boxing gloves and knitted tubes worn together were designed to help to improve the relationship between two people.
Opening Night: The knitted items and photos are on display, while an impromptu boxing performance takes place.
Posted by Susan at 11:35 PM
Sublime cultural moments happen when the time, place and art meet in perfect harmony.
Artist Paul Chan worked with Creative Time to bring the Classical Theatre of Harlem to stage Beckett’s Waiting for Godot in the ninth ward of New Orleans.
The ninth ward was the heaviest hit in the devastating 2005 Hurricane Katrina and people are still desperately waiting for help to get back to their homes.
Dan Cameron vividly describes the experience of the event: http://artforum.com/diary/#entry18895
Creative Time’s site: http://creativetime.org/programs/archive/2007/chan/welcome.html. Photo courtesy of Creative Time.
Posted by Susan at 1:47 AM
Posted by Susan at 11:30 PM
The Singapore group Kill Your Television performed Design for Death in 2004. Here is an image of Rizman Putra performing, courtesy of http://www.killyourtelevision.info/ .
This small image is courtesy of IT Park, the famed alternative art space in Taipei, here exhibiting Tsong Pu's installation of tape measures and snoring beds, to symbolize the aging body.
Posted by Susan at 12:31 AM
This wonderful image is from http://www.pyuupiru.com/ . Pyuupiru is one of the artists who agreed to be in my exhibition titled "Interventions and Inspirations" that unfortunately had to be cancelled due to lack of funding.
The artists all agreed, but then no funding, hence a cancelled/postponed exhibition. Too bad! I wanted to show that exciting art is being created in Asia. If anyone is interested to sponsor this exhibition, please contact me via comment.
Here's my curatorial statement:
“Interventions and Inspirations” is an exhibition of conceptual art by artists based in China, Singapore, Korea, Japan and Taiwan and include works that stir up society with works that are pure poetry.
Artists: Singapore: Kill Your Television, a multimedia performance group who blurs the boundaries between media and art. China: Peng Yu and Sun Yuan provocatively relate to society. Korea: Young Hae Chang Heavy Industries, Flash animations of word jazz poems in several languages. Japan: Pyuupiru combines obsession with costume making. Taiwan: Tsong Pu is a visual poet while Wu Mali uses an art vocabulary wielding it like a social activist’s megaphone to rally the masses.
What separates us from other species is the possession of two powerful cognitive tools: the capability to intervene and the capacity to imagine. The world’s history is dynamically shaped both positively and negatively by interventions and inspirations.
The practice of agriculture can be seen as an early and broad-sweeping intervention that dramatically changed the course of society. Then there are those solo acts by courageous individuals who did not follow conventional thought, but followed their own inner voices. Individuals such as Rosa Parks sparked a movement, the Civil Rights Movement in the USA, just by her intervention of sitting on a restricted bus seat.
An intervention is an interference that changes a situation. Euphemistically a military intervention is an invasion, while a family intervention involves a group of people stopping their loved one from his chemical dependency. An art intervention challenges the status quo and shakes up commonplace thinking, while also simultaneously inspiring viewers to effect change in their own lives.
Inspiration allows one to dream and to reach for the stars. Advancements in science, medicine, arts and society all started off with a dream. Without being able to dream, one will not want to get out of bed in the morning. The capability to dream and to feel inspired is what makes us look forward to tomorrow.
By juxtaposing these two cognitive tools in an art exhibition, “Interventions and Inspirations” seeks to encompass the wide-range of thought in conceptual art that is currently happening in Asia and brings together 8-10 compelling artists and 4 provocative writers for an exhibition that will long be remembered.
_uacct = "UA-2881162-1";
Posted by Susan at 11:54 PM
Posted by Susan at 12:27 AM
Now that curators are getting top billing that is equal to artists, isn't it about time to start publishing their birthdates along with the obligatory artists' birthdates?
Why is it only artists whose birthdates get published in catalogs and press releases?
What is the reasoning behind that? That a young person is a natural genius and an older person has lived experience. With that reasoning, why aren't the birthdates of curators, critics, directors, etc. published in promotional materials?
Posted by Susan at 2:05 AM
Posted by Susan at 12:24 AM
Posted by Susan at 2:03 AM