Monday, May 14, 2007

all the posts i've failed to post

shanghai sculpture garden review:
Upon entrance: the lawn at Shanghai Sculpture Garden is just a preview of the crazy mismatched conglomerate of ideas going on within the warehouse space. Those who enter the space are immediately greeted by a brick car, 6 characters riding a 6 person bicycle, a piece consisting of metal bars infringing upon a tree, in addition to countless other odds and ends scattered around the compound’s lawn. Inside the actual warehouse, the visitors experience a similar setup- an exact replica of the outside (only different stuff to look at). The space is overwhelmingly cluttered with mismatched sculptures- an enormous overweight sumo wrestler juxtaposed a wavelike floor piece composed of miniature wooden men; a giant cartoon-ish yellow horse trots besides a ceilings length spider like machine. There is no rhyme or reason. The only thing in common to this collection was the artists’ Chinese heritage.
As usual-many of the sculptures were reminiscent of western artworks as well as familiar objects- some pieces could have even been mistaken as a Giacometti, Jeff Koons, or other kitschy enlarged gift shop-looking decorations.
Nonetheless, the space was enormous, and acted as a great showcase for whatever. The fact that the space functioned as a museum as well as office space was pretty impressive.

Art for Sale

Yang Zhenzhong explores the technique of placing artwork out of the context of a gallery/museum and into the context of a place more readily available to the masses- a shopping mall. Knowing that he would reach a different type of crowd, he clears out a store in Shanghai Plaza and revamps it in order to present contemporary artwork to a wider public. Art becomes accessible to all, just like any other readily available coveted product. Various artists stocked shelves with original pieces, mainly: altered items, original ideas, and anything that took the form of knickknacks. However, despite the variety of product, the widest complaint was that the work was not ‘decorative’ enough for certain taste.
Art re-contextualized--this idea has been executed in multiple ways and in multiple forms. As I watched the documentation of Art for Sale, the first thing that I associated this piece with was shop dropping. Those who take part in this particular act usually revamp certain objects to their personal vision and return them to the area from which they purchased it. In effect, the artists aim towards tossing up the usual store display by breaking up the stark display of commercialism. Yang Zhenzong’s show was similar in the sense that artwork was being brought down from the realm hoity-toity art collectors and into the hands of ordinary consumers. Artists were given the opportunity to circulate their products in a different manner. However, instead of taking the title of an impostor product, the show worked in the artist’ favor to openly display their products.

Hangzhou Academy

For China's emerging art scene, Hangzhou Academy seems to be the place to study. In fact, this university had far better facilities than most art schools I've been too-->New York. I may have been so impressed by the architecture and enormity of the place to really notice anything else.
immediate observations:
Pros: 1. Different buildings dedicated to separate studio concentrations- photo, digital, sculpture, etc. –this isolates the students and allows them to be only influenced by people/facilities pertaining to their specific field. 2. Instruction by/ exposure to ‘big name’ Chinese artists. 3. great facilities
Cons: Limitations- 1. University closed on weekends/closing early. 2. Empty rooms that could potentially be used as studio space.
UH? Although the facilities at Hangzhou University kick NYU’s ass, the only reason I would opt for NYU’s education is the freedom of choice in terms of classes. I can’t tell whether this is a good thing or a bad thing. It seems like the students at Hangzhou are pretty much screwed if they want to change concentrations. One student said that he blindly chose to study New Media, even though he had no idea what it entailed. The studio kids are not permitted to switch. On the other hand, by concentrating solely in one area, students are allowed to intently explore that medium in far greater depth than they would have if they were working with a variety of media.

As for meeting Zhong Peili- he provided us with short clips of a number of his videos.—the trend seemed to be one object/scenario shot at three different perspectives such as: washing a chicken, eating a tomato, scratching various parts of the body, etc. These were all simplistic scenes portraying a simple/mundane activity.
The only disappointing aspect was of course the language barrier. Our interview/understanding of his work was inhibited, and the translations seemed terse and tiresome. However, it was rather accommodating to have the Chinese students’ translate his ideas and include individual input.

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