Thursday, March 17, 2011

avant-garde and the Buddha Jade Temple

There was one quote from last night’s “Shanghai Art Histories: cracked open” that really enforced this week’s reading. Unfortunately, I don’t remember it exactly, but it was Xhingyu Chen who was speaking and she said something along the lines of China and Shanghai is relatively new to the avant-garde art scene, so the artists are trying to catch up with the rest of the world. As a result, their art is perhaps not as thoughtful and they are more willing to take risks that they might not normally take.

I think this lecture was an interesting contrast with our field trip to the Buddha Jade Temple because the two are both extremes—new and old, modern and traditional, etc. The Buddha Jade Temple of course had all the traditional Buddhist characteristics: the usage of red and primary colors, larger than life deities, an abundance of gold, etc. Everything in the temple is there for a reason, has meaning, and is carefully planned out, unlike the avant-garde, which can come across as unthoughtful and hurried.

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