Thursday, November 13, 2008


It has been quite a long time, a long time to both forget and to rethink. I distinctly remember Hollywood as my last thoughts on the Biennial. I mentioned that Hollywood though commercial in its underpinnings has both its positives and negatives, and that the Shanghai Biennial, is good representation of what the positive commercial side has to offer. This opinion has since changed, not a 360 change per say, but a different one none the less. Biz Art and my fellow student’s opinions have changed my opinions on the progression of Shanghai Modern Art.

Take it as someone who doesn’t understand wines. When tasting it for the first time there is a sense of confusion. Confused about why people enjoy wine. Confused about what to think about the wine itself. I, as a sacrilegiously uncultured New York student have just entered the world of modern art here in Shanghai of all places. Confusion then soon turns to a rudimentary sense of taste. A feel for aesthetics as a fellow student, Valerie puts it.

Long story short, in retrospect, the reason that I felt unoffended by the Biennial unlike my fellow art educated peers is the fact that I am hung up on aesthetics. Like the Chinese government, who mass produces a flower video simply because it looks good, I approached the Biennial in a similar fashion. Is there a crime to liking Hollywood? No, however I can say that I admire my fellow students, whom have I can have honed their senses to something being simply commercial.

And finally I return to Biz Art. I had another semi-negative impression of Biz Art. But I tried my best to get past that initially bitter taste. The methods of display, the location are not the only means to an end. The Insomnia Exhibit works on multiple levels. It deals with the very commercialism that this entire blog entry is about. Artists who lose sleep over having to create work catered towards a hungry and demanding audience. Each piece adds its thoughts and interpretation on insomnia, and together as an exhibit it works as a whole.

Biz Art is a diamond in the rough, among art for the masses. The lecturer that day said it well, and even weeks afterwards I remember the story he told. An artist made ten pieces, sold the nine pieces that he considered sub standard, and donates the one piece he considers his best work. Illogical, un-commercial, and ultimately modern this is the Biz Art that we witnessed that day.

I’ll make an effort in the future to look beyond the skin, understanding hopefully what Shanghai Art has to offer.

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