Thursday, September 16, 2010

By Stephanie Hsu
On Thursday September 9, our class visited the fourth annual
ShContemporary Art Fair at the Shanghai Exhibition Center. We attended
the conference, "Collecting Asian Contemporary Art: What, When and
How?," at which a distinguished panel of critics, curators, and
collectors from Asia, Europe, and the US gathered to discuss the
direction of Asian contemporary art. Our class was able to listen to
several museum professionals speak, including Tan Boon Hui, the
Director of Singapore Art Museum, and Kathy Halbreich, the Deputy
Director of MoMA in New York City. While interpreters mediated the
transitions between the use of Mandarin and English, the panelists
emphasized intercultural dialogue between Asia and the West as
increasingly fundamental to the development of contemporary art. The
panelists discussed present issues regarding the dynamics between
contemporary Asian art and museums across the world, calling attention
to the growing international exposure of contemporary Asian
art and the influence of globalization on regional practices. During
her talk, Ms. Halbreich admitted her own limited knowledge of Asian
art, before acknowledging the importance of understanding Asian art as
a diffusion of work from many different cultures. Following her
statement that "one truth will not suffice," Ms. Halbreich denied the
existence of universal standards by which to judge art, bringing to
light the complications of understanding the regional specificities of
art in a global context.
Stepping out from the conference room in between breaks, we
entered the "Discoveries: Re-Value" exhibition on the first level of
the main hall, which showcased artists largely based in Beijing,
Taipei, Seoul, and Tokyo. We were fortunate enough to meet Taipei and
Berlin based Manray Hsu, one of the curators of the exhibition. Mr.
Hsu gave us an introduction to the exhibition, during which he
prompted us to consider the hard work and labor that went into the
creation of the works on display. Works that I particularly enjoyed
included Zhao Bandi's panda-themed multimedia project, an endearing
collaboration with children from Henan, Sichuan, and Taiwan; and
Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries' satirical installation piece, which
showed a slideshow of intimate and provocative text based messages
being projected onto two opposing walls.

No comments: