Posted: Friday, April 4, 2014
At the moment, we have on two different sides of the Museum great examples of contemporary artists who have created works that deal with history, politics, and social realities in their respective regions using stop-motion animation: The Refusal of Time (2012), an installation by William Kentridge (b. 1955) currently on view in the Modern and Contemporary Art galleries, and a selection of videos in the exhibition Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China by artists Chen Shaoxiong (b. 1962), Qiu Anxiong (b. 1972) and Sun Xun (b. 1980). Qiu and Sun in particular have acknowledged Kentridge as a source of inspiration. I spoke with Ian Alteveer, associate curator in the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art, about the connections between Kentridge's film and several videos in Ink Art.
Posted: Friday, February 21, 2014
The exhibition Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China is all about ink. Darks and lights and midtones are used everywhere. There are so many different art styles that you're bound to find something you like. The exhibition features several scrolls, which tell stories through writing or pictures and even through combinations of the two.
Posted: Friday, February 14, 2014
Duan Jianyu's Beautiful Dream series (2008), currently displayed in the exhibition Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China, showcases clichéd renderings of tourist attractions and scenic Chinese landscapes on flattened cardboard boxes. The charming naiveté of the silhouetted forms belies her witty treatment of the banal subjects and materials: soda-can rings reinforce the Great Wall's bulk, and an exposed area of corrugation simulates rippling water, animating an otherwise bland Guilin representation where the distinct Karst mountain forms are typically shown with reflections in the Li River. By playing with these surface particularities, the artist seems to celebrate the cardboard's well-worn materiality rather than merely exploiting its symbolism to critique consumer culture.
Posted: Thursday, February 13, 2014
Posted: Friday, February 7, 2014
Before we encountered Xu Bing's Book from the Sky, we passed by Ai Weiwei's Han Jar Overpainted with Coca-Cola Logo—and almost missed it. The pot, located in the ancient Chinese galleries, looks ordinary except for its iconic logo. This was where we started to learn that the contemporary Chinese art scene is born from the synthesis and refutation of tradition.
Posted: Friday, January 31, 2014
In Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China, we came across many pieces of artwork that exemplify the contrast between contemporary and traditional art. One of these pieces was Family Tree, a series of nine photographs in which the artist Zhang Huan's face gradually becomes covered in ink and traditional calligraphy.
Posted: Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Posted: Thursday, December 26, 2013
What does it take to install an exhibition of contemporary Chinese art?
The diversity in scale, media, and format of the seventy-some pieces in Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China have tested the talents and ingenuity of the Museum's incredibly resourceful staff. After a number of advance planning meetings, our installation began in earnest on October 30 in the Early Chinese Buddhist Sculpture Gallery (206)—just off the Great Hall Balcony. There, we planned to display three 16 1/2-foot-tall hanging scrolls from Qiu Zhijie's 30 Letters to Qiu Jiawa, (2009) and the five triptychs of Yang Jiechang's Crying Landscapes (2002). Together, these works would announce to visitors to the Asian Wing that they were entering the world of contemporary China, where old and new often come together.
Posted: Wednesday, November 13, 2013
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Mike Hearn—the Met's Douglas Dillon Curator in Charge of the Department of Asian Art—about his work in authoring the catalogue accompanying the upcoming exhibition Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China, his inspiration for incorporating modern works into his department, and the role of the Chinese artist in today's art world.