Month: November 2014

Study Abroad Artwork Showcased in Graham Center

“Study Abroad Artwork Showcased in Graham Center”

by Ray Boyle via “FIU


This summer Eliane Pinillos braved dehydration and sickness to scale the Great Wall of China looking for the perfect scene to paint. Today, her art is on display in the Graham Center.

“This is awesome!” she said of seeing her and her peers’ work in a public space.  “I mean, I don’t really consider myself much of an artist, but it’s pretty great to have it showcased.”

This week, the Graham Center Art Gallery houses more than 35 paintings and drawings from  study abroad students. They will be on display until Nov. 21.

Pinillos, a speech pathology major, was among two groups of students who participated in David Chang’s summer study abroad programs, one in France, the other in China. Chang is a professor in the College of Education and director of art education.

“I feel very honored and I’m very happy and blessed that I had professor Chang because he’s so knowledgeable,” Pinillos said. “I think that he’s the person that really made this whole experience what it was because without him I would be lost.”

For Chang, the most important aspect of the trip is for his students to learn why artists like Monet and Van Gogh painted, rather than how to paint like them. He brings the students to Monet’s home and the Great Wall of China so they can feel their surroundings instead of “just taking a picture in front of the Eiffel Tower” as he puts it.

“I choose the sites based on the emphasis of the program. If I talk about the development of 19th century art, then I would choose sites the impressionist painted,” he said. “It’s an immersive program, even though it’s a short period of time. We’re not just going as a tourist.”

Daniella Martinez met Pinillos during the study abroad to France last year. Both came away from the experience knowing they wanted to go to China this year.

China presented a completely different culture from France, from the United States and from Martinez’s native Colombia. It was modern, fast-paced and, she found, impersonal.

“Everyone just kind of wants to go where they want to go and that’s it,” Martinez said of the constant movement and quick interactions, which contrasts with the generally slower-paced lifestyle she knows in Colombia. . .



Meet China’s New Power Collectors (Part I): Three Influential Figures From The Art World

“Meet China’s New Power Collectors (Part I):

Three Influential Figures From The Art World”

by Alexandre Emera via “Forbes

The busy months of October and November for the art world have been an opportunity to witness the omnipresence of a new wave of young and influential collectors from China. Whether it was in London for Frieze, in Paris for FIAC and the opening of the Inside China, an exhibition at the Palais de Tokyo led by art patron Adrian Cheng (34, Chairman of the K11 Art Foundation, who just made his entry to the ArtReview Power 100 List), or in New York for the exhibition of Chinese artist Wang Jianwei at the Guggenheim Museum, this new group of Chinese collectors was very much in focus.

This week, many of them are meeting again in Shanghai, for the second edition of Art021, an art fair founded itself by two young collectors, and already attracting international names such as Marian Goodman, White Cube, and Perrotin, as well as leading galleries from China.

“Meet China’s New Power Collectors” is a three-part focus series, exploring who are these new collectors and what does their emergence mean for the international art scene.

In this first part, three leading figures of this generation are sharing with us their approach on collecting, their vision, and long term strategies. They are Kelly Ying, Lin Han, and Chong Zhou.

From left to right: Lin Han, Kelly Ying, Chong Zhou

Kelly Ying (KY)

I don’t think you can truly collect art without being involved in the other aspects of the industry 

Young and active collector from Shanghai. Originally working in the fashion industry, Ying is now focusing entirely on art. She is the co-founder of Art021, and the wife of collector David Chau (Zhou Dawei), 29, who is himself much involved in the art scene in China, supporting galleries and other cultural institutions.

Chong Zhou (CZ)

Art collecting is 50% of my career 

25, graduated with a degree of art history from UCLA. He is a second-generation collector, and made his first art purchase art in 2010. His family runs a large pharmaceutical group. Zhou is based in Shanghai, where he also owns a restaurant, “Macasa”, displaying his art.

Lin Han (LH) 

We are breaking or revising a lot of boundaries 

27, studied animation design at Northumbria University in the United Kingdom. His first art purchase was a Zeng Fanzhi painting in 2013, which was the cover of Sotheby’s 40th anniversary day auction. Since then, he has opened the first private art museum in Beijing’s 798 Art District, the M Woods Museum, featuring more than 200 works. Lin is based in Beijing.

What motivated you to start collecting?

CZ: My family has been influential in this decision. They started collecting in 2001, a very early time for local Chinese collectors to buy contemporary art. My motivation today is to find and acquire influential young artists, including names like Sun Xun, Yang Yongliang, Gao Lei, Shi Zhiying, etc. I believe I have a strong sense of duty towards their development, since I am myself born in 1989. Trying to discover the next important artists is also motivating me, just like my family did in their time. . . .


Coming Exhibition: Future Returns

“Future Returns: Contemporary Art from China”

08 Jin Yangping, “The Mirror of City No.1”, oil on canvas, 200 x 265 cm, 2011


Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum

Michigan State University

When: Oct. 28, 2014 – March 8, 2015 (Hours Vary)


Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum
547 East Circle Drive
East Lansing, Michigan 48824

More Information: Here and Here.

Over the past three decades China has experienced profound socioeconomic changes that have prompted calls to revisit, reconsider, and redefine the nation’s identity. Although there remains a strong local understanding of Chinese history and heritage, the homogenization of the country’s urban geography and the rapid dissipation of rural life have dramatically altered the cultural landscape. Future Returns: Contemporary Art from China explores the impact of these transformations by bringing together works by contemporary Chinese artists that address China’s metamorphosis from a traditional society into an ultra-modern nation-state.

The pertinent question in today’s China is whether the country’s distinct traditions and values can continue to play a role in its development. The future of China cannot be predicted, yet the psychology of “change, change, change” that pervades the everyday lives of the Chinese allows for a multitude of possibilities. Only in the pursuit of these new potentialities will China be able to build on its distinctive culture. The focused selection of paintings, photographs, installations, and digital art in this exhibition showcases the vision of both emergent and established practitioners who have contributed to China’s celebrated artistic community. Through their works, Future Returns highlights the emergence of a new China, one that is not constrained by closed readings of the past.

Artists and filmmakers featured in the exhibition include: Chen Weiqun, Dong Jun, Geng Yi, He Yunchang, Jiang Ji An, Jin Yangping, Jizi, Li Junhu, Lin Xin, Liu Lining, Meng Baishen, Miao Xiaochun, Pei Li, Qu Yan, Sui Jianguo, Su Xinping, Tian Bo, Wang Chuan, Wang Huangsheng, Wang Yang, Xia Xiaowan, Xu Bing, Zhang Yanfeng, Zhou Gang, and Zhou Qinshan.

New Broad Exhibit Showcases Range, Diversity of Art in China

“New Broad Exhibit Showcases Range, Diversity of Art in China”

by Matthew Miller via “Lansing Journal”

Broad Art Museum 4.jpg

“What’s wrong, I think, is the position of the dragon.”

Wang Chuan was gesturing at one of his own photographs, an image of a bright golden statuette of a dragon — a potent image in Chinese culture, a symbol of the nation itself — presiding over a collection of grimy soup pots.

“This is a stew,” he said, meaning the contents of those pots. “This is in a popular restaurant in a suburb of Beijing. It’s run by the farmers who don’t do farm work anymore. This is the wrong place.”

Wang’s dragon photos, part of “Future Returns,” an exhibition of Chinese contemporary art that opened last month at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University, are on their face an exploration of the hapless fate of a cultural icon.

In one image, a long costume used in the traditional dragon dance sits crumpled on the back of a three wheeler. Another shows coins tossed for luck onto the image of a dragon at a temple, all of the smallest denominations.

But, in a broader sense, they are a mediation on the erasure of tradition in a fast-changing country.

“Gradually, people begin to care if the tradition is too quick to be erased by the modernization and the development of the economy and the incoming of the culture from the Western world,” Wang said. “The pace of vanishing of all the old things is shocking.”

The exhibition, which includes the work of more than two dozen artists, is the first brought to the museum by Wang Chunchen, a respected art critic and head of the Department of Curatorial Research at the CAFA Art Museum at the Central Academy of Fine Arts China in Beijing who is also an adjunct curator for the Broad.

“China is changed greatly in the past three decades,” Wang said, as he took a group of journalists, artists and translators through the exhibition last month. “So the art I selected her represents, stands for that kind of change, culturally, socially, psychologically.” . . . .


“The Art of Storytelling”

“The Art of Storytelling”

by Yvonne Yan via “Huffington Post

My introduction to pingshu, traditional Chinese storytelling, was Yuan KuoCheng’s “Journey to the West”, a classical Chinese novel popular among all ages. Since then, pingshu has become a significant part of my bedtime story. I fall asleep imagining the Handsome Monkey King angering all the gods and fighting against the deities, swinging his 17,550-pound golden rod from heaven to hell, and using his 72 transformations to overcome all challenges throughout the journey. Words come out of Yuan’s mouth like clips of movies, vivid and captivating, as if the characters appear right in front of me. Listening to pingshu has allowed me, along with generations of Chinese, to appreciate the art of oral stories and the most powerful aspects of Chinese culture.

Most of the pingshu stories that I have listened to are drawn from Chinese history and can be broken into several classifications. The story of loyal and law-abiding officials or chivalrous and dauntless folk heroes, for instance, is my favorite. The characters in this type of pingshu, such as the “Pure Official Bao”, help the commoners fight against evil and corruption in society, symbolizing the virtues of leniency and integrity.

Other types of pingshu also have their own characteristics: the conflicts during the Three Kingdom Period following the Han Dynasty and the early heroes of the Tang Dynasty are typical stories of the establishment of Chinese dynasties; the widely known stories of the Yang family and the renowned Chinese hero Yue Fei both depict tales of dynasties and conflicts, relating to a specific group of soldier’s experiences in resisting barbarian invasions; the last type of story, which differs from the previous three types in both content and narration style, is about fictional legends of monsters, ghosts, or about being challenged in life. The most well known story of this type is “Journey to the West,” which depicts the arduous journey of a small group traveling to see Buddha in order to gain enlightenment.

During my brief interactions with contemporary pingshu artists, I have come to learn more about the art as a folk tradition of telling stories. Since the mid-Qing dynasty, pingshu gradually became an important recreational tool for people to communicate information, share interests, and enjoy their glorious history. Traditional pingshu artists usually perform in teahouses or small theaters, where people can gather around on a nice afternoon.

Like calligraphy and many other Chinese traditional art forms, pingshu requires years of training. Such experience comes from a long apprenticeship with a master. An aspiring storyteller might have to perform years of basic chores, such as cooking for the family and cleaning the house. Most importantly, the artists must passionately devote time, effort, and talent to the business of attracting a permanent audience. The famous Pingshu artist Yuan, who retired several years ago, once characterized pingshu as “difficult mental and physical labor.” Not only do the artists have to memorize long passages, sometimes hundreds of thousands of words long, they also have to incorporate the origins of certain customs, the backgrounds of characters, the history and geography, and other enchanting facts about the stories they tell.

To help the artists narrate stories in a more exciting way, pingshu has also developed a few widely used stage props: a table, a folding fan, and an attention-catching wood (xingmu). It is incredible to imagine that riveting performances can be achieved using such simple objects. The performer usually stands behind the stable during the entire performance. The attention-catching wood, a rectangular piece of dark wood, is knocked against the table to start the performance and to highlight climactic moments of the story. The artist uses the folding fan to illustrate certain physical actions, such as brandishing a sword or reading a book. . . .