Monday, March 24, 2008

Taiwan's current art situation


On Saturday, Taiwan had its presidential election and the clear winner was Ma Ying-jeou of the KMT party with 58 percent of the vote.
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Today's news says that it is expected that foreign investors will pour 300 billion NT$ into the local stock market.
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So how will this affect the arts in Taiwan? When I look back at old copies of the Taipei Times newspaper circa 2000, there were usually a couple art reviews every week reflecting the then-vibrant art scene. In the past few years, as I'm one of their arts contributing reporters, it's been difficult to come up with noteworthy shows to review on a regular basis. Coming up with one a month was often stretching it.
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Even though artists were still creating, the exhibition scene was rather dormant. Funding seemed to focus on traditional expression such as puppet shows and wood carving, with barely any support (financially or space-wise) for the more experimental and the more contemporary. My guess is that people were not feeling so secure to spend money for art exhibitions and were waiting for the presidential elections while holding on to their money.
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Now with the new President, whose daughter, Lesley Ma Wei-ching, works in Cai Guo-qiang's studio in NY, perhaps there will be a sudden flourishing of arts in Taiwan.

1 comment:

Prime Minister3 said...

That is an interesting take. Just wondering, since I live in the US, has it happened? Ms. Lesley Ma, along with her mother and sister, tends to stay out of the limelight. They are intent on living out their lives as individuals [extremely admirable and cool], so the effects of President Ma's election on the arts may not be as big. However, I am very curious.