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Contemporary art trends and news from Asia and beyond

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Posts Tagged ‘Zhang Hongtu’

Saatchi back with new gallery, school programme, China show, – Reuters, BBC

Posted by artradar on October 12, 2008


COLLECTOR SHOW CHINESE ART

Influential British art collector Charles Saatchi is back after three years out of the limelight, opening a major new gallery in central London showcasing some of China’s hottest artists reports Reuters. The man who introduced the world to Britart stalwarts like Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin has been largely absent from the art scene since his gallery was forced out of its previous home on the River Thames in 2005. Now he is back with a huge new exhibition space in upmarket Chelsea, where he hopes free entry to the imposing former headquarters of the Duke of York will attract passers by.

Critics have lauded the imposing three-storey building with its glass and white-walled interior, and welcomed back one of contemporary art’s biggest players. But the inaugural show, opening on Thursday, has earned mixed reviews.

The Revolution Continues: New Art from China” is dedicated to Chinese artists including established stars like Yue Minjun, Zhang Xiaogang and Zeng Fanzhi, whose painting fetched $9.7 million in May, a record for Asian contemporary artwork.

Some critics have categorized the crazed, laughing men of Yue or the gray, stylized portraits of Zhang as repetitive, even “mass production” art.

Generally more popular were the sculptures, particularly an installation piece called “Old Persons Home” by Sun Yuan and Peng Yu, involving 13 aging men on wheelchairs moving randomly around a large basement room. Their striking resemblance to late world leaders turns the work into a commentary on the pitfalls of power and conflict. The gallery calls it “a grizzly parody of the U.N. dead.”

But the gallery’s head of development, Rebecca Wilson, said Saatchi’s target audience was less the experts — critics, collectors and curators — and more the general public, most of whom are unfamiliar with contemporary Chinese art. “There was a feeling that all of these artists were suddenly emerging from China, doing very well at auction, there were the Beijing Olympics coming up,” she told Reuters. “There was this kind of convergence of interest in China, so we felt it should be the exhibition that we open with.”

IRAN, IRAQ ART TO COME

Early next year the Saatchi Gallery will put on a show dedicated to contemporary Middle Eastern art, including from Iran and Iraq, by artists never seen in Britain before.

“None of those artists have been seen in this country before and will be very little known elsewhere in the world as well,” said Wilson. “I think Charles has been searching for months to try to find interesting works.”

Saatchi sells some art after an exhibition ends, partly to fund his enterprise. Auction house Phillips de Pury is supporting the gallery to ensure entry will be free.

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BBC coverage:

Only free contemporary art museum in world

The BBC reports that the Saatchi gallery claims to be the only completely free entry contemporary art museum of its size in the world. Simon de Pury, of auction house Phillips de Pury & Company, who is sponsoring the exhibition, said they expected “millions” of visitors.

Ground-breaking school education programme to come

The gallery said it was seeking to establish a “ground breaking” education programme “to make contemporary art even more accessible to young people.

“It is anticipated that the facilities that the Saatchi Gallery plans to offer – at the gallery, via its website and the gallery’s own classroom – will ensure that teachers receive the best on-site and outreach support for their students.”

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Artists: Zhang Dali, Zeng Fanzhi, Wang Guangyi, Zheng Guogu, Zhang Haiying, Zhang Hongtu, Zhang Huan, Qiu Je, Xiang Jin, Shi Jinsong, Fang Lijun, Yue Minjun, Li Qing, Wu Shuanzhuan, Shen Shaomin, Li Songsong, Zhan Wang, Liu Wei, Zhang Xiaogang, Zhang Xiaotao, Cang Xin, Shi Xinning, Li Yan, Bai Yiluo, Sun Yuan and Peng Yu, Zhang Yuan, Yin Zhaohui, Feng Zhengjie

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Posted in Chinese, Collectors, Cultural Revolution, Gallery shows, Individual, Iranian, Iraqi, London, Mao art, Middle Eastern, Political, Sculpture, UK | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

China refuses to lend art to Asia Society New York show 2008

Posted by artradar on August 22, 2008


SURVEY CHINESE ART NEW YORK September 5 2008 to January 11 2009
China has reversed its decision to lend Asia Society nearly 100 objects from Chinese museums for an exhibition that focuses on revolutionary Chinese art from the 1950s through the ’70s, scheduled to open on Sept. 5 in Manhattan, the society’s president said.

The Chinese Ministry of Culture had originally agreed to allow the society to borrow works for the show, “Art and China’s Revolution,” promoted as among the first comprehensive exhibitions devoted to that era and one that will examine the effects of Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution on artists and art production in China.

Despite the Chinese government’s decision, Asia Society has decided to proceed with the show by seeking loans from private collectors.

The approach of the Olympics seemed to have been the deal breaker. “Initially, they said, ‘Any loans you want; no problem,’ ” said Vishakha N. Desai, the society’s president. “The closer it got to the Olympics, they changed their policy.”

“It has more to do with China’s desire and aspiration to be seen in a new light,” Ms. Desai added. “This is a time for celebration. They don’t want to be reminded of a difficult past.”

“To some extent, it’s better,” she said. “We don’t want ever to be seen as being sanctioned by the government.”

“Even though this is a period many would prefer to forget, it is nevertheless one that produced a visual culture that continues to permeate contemporary Chinese art,” Mr. Zheng said in a news release.

One section of the exhibition addresses artists who went against the prevailing style, including Pan Tianshou, Lin Fengmian, Zhao Yannian, Li Keran and Shi Lu, some of whom were persecuted and called “black artists.”

The show also includes works by a younger generation of contemporary artists, like Xu Bing, Chen Danqing and Zhang Hongtu, who attribute many of their artistic influences to their years spent in the countryside as part of their “re-education.”

Mao started the Cultural Revolution in 1966 to purge China of its bourgeoise elements and to advance class struggle. The revolution also represented Mao’s effort to regain control of the Communist Party from his rivals Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping after the Great Leap Forward. The conflict eventually devolved into a decade-long period of power struggles and political instability.

During the revolution, art was often used as propaganda to deliver a political message to a mass audience. Older artists sometimes adopted revolutionary themes; many others had their works destroyed and were persecuted. At the same time, some younger artists aspired to have their paintings become “model works,” mass-produced in posters and newspapers. The Asia Society exhibition seeks to capture the varied artistic ramifications of this political turmoil.

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Wang Huaiqing - Long live Gutian spirit 1967

Wang Huaiqing - Long live Gutian spirit 1967

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