Contemporary Art

Coming Exhibition: Bharti Kher~ Not All Who Wander Are Lost

Bharti Kher:

Not All Who Wander Are Lost

Who:  

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

When: July 1, 2015 – January 31, 2016 (Hours Vary)

Where: 

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
25 Evans Way
Boston, MA 02115

More Information: Here.

Bharti Kher is the sixth artist-in-residence invited to create a temporary site-specific work for the Museum’s façade. Kher’s project reflects on maritime travel, highlighted by her interest in mapping and typography and references the migration of people in Africa, the Middle East and Europe. Kher uses bindis, a popular forehead decoration worn by women in India, and a signature element in her work, to map demographic movement in an abstract way.

Bharti Kher’s (b. 1969, England) is an art of dislocation and transience, reflecting her own, largely itinerant life. Born and raised in England, the artist moved to New Delhi in the early 1990s after her formal training in the field. Consequently, the concept of home as the location of identity and culture is constantly challenged in her body of work. In addition to an autobiographical examination of identity, Kher’s unique perspective also facilitates an outsider’s ethnographic observation of contemporary life, class and consumerism in urban India.

Presently, Kher uses the bindi, a dot indicative of the third eye worn by the Indian women on their foreheads, as a central motif in her work. Bharti Kher often refers to her mixed media works with bindis, the mass-produced, yet traditional ornaments, as “action paintings.” Painstakingly placed on the surface one-by-one to form a design, the multi-colored bindis represent custom, often inflexible, as well as the dynamic ways in which it is produced and consumed today. The artist is also known for her collection of wild and unusual resin-cast sculptures and her digital photography.

Sotheby’s Brushes Up Its Image With London Auction

“Sotheby’s Brushes Up Its Image With London Auction”

by Mary Lane via “WSJ

The sale of Gerhard Richter's ’Abstract Picture, 599’ for $46 million set an auction record for the German artist.

LONDON— Sotheby’s shook off doubts stemming from the ouster of its chief executive late last year, earning this past week its highest total for artwork auctioned in London from its contemporary art department.

The company’s annual February auction Tuesday totaled $188 million, representing a 31% increase from 2014’s February sale.

In November, William Ruprecht stepped down as Sotheby’s CEO, following a monthslong campaign by hedge-fund activist Dan Loeb to shake up the company’s management. Mr. Ruprecht’s handling of the contemporary art division was a focus of criticism.

On Friday, Sotheby’s said it wouldn’t be paying a special dividend initiated last year, saying it wanted to preserve “flexibility” in its “capital allocation” while searching for a new chief executive.

Tuesday’s auction result, within Sotheby’s $136 million to $193 million pre-sale estimate, helped the publicly traded auction house beat privately owned nemesis Christie’s, which sold $178 million worth of art on Wednesday, down 16% from a year earlier.

Asian and Middle Eastern participation in Sotheby’s evening session on Tuesday was low, with only 9% of buyers from that region. But South American participation doubled from last year, with 37% of buyers coming from South and North America combined. At Christie’s, about a fifth of buyers were from Asia and the Middle East, with Europe and North America accounting for about half.

The week’s biggest art sale was Gerhard Richter’s 1986 painting “Abstract Picture, 599.” It sold over the phone to Ken Griffin, founder of investment fund Citadel, at Sotheby’s for $46 million, according to people familiar with the matter. The purchase was highly unusual for the billionaire, better known for collecting more mainstream artwork, including Impressionists. Mr. Griffin broke the previous Richter record of $37 million set by Sotheby’s in May 2013. The 118-inch by 99-inch work, featuring a metallic-looking paint that glistens, drew its second-highest bid from a private collector working through Gallus Pesendorfer, a Cologne-based specialist who typically works with German buyers.

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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

Who:  

Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum

Michigan State University

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

Where: 

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.” . . . .

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25 Contemporary Chinese Artists You Need to Know

“25 Contemporary Chinese Artists You Need to Know”

by Emily Carr via “Complex

 

How do you select 25 individuals from a nation of 1.3 billion people? Arbitrarily is the only real answer. Though by no means exhaustive, the following list represents a cross section of artists that currently live and work in China and make really cool art.

China is at once a uniquely contemporary and deeply traditional society. Chinese social and political life is based largely on events of the last forty years, since the end of the Cultural Revolution in 1976 forced a hard reset. The institution of the one-child policy in 1979, the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, the exponential economic growth in the ’90s, the country’s admission into the World Trade Organization in 2001, the recent period of rapid Westernization, and the rise to global power have shaped every aspect of Chinese life.

Meanwhile, centuries-old artistic traditions, such as ink-wash painting and ceramics, remain dear and deeply ingrained in the culture. Ranging in age from those in their 20s to those in their 50s, the artists that follow are all affected and influenced by the country’s recent events and ancient artifacts. From the ultra famous to the super fresh, they deal with the constantly shifting current of Chinese society, politics, and economy, while maintaining a connection to the country’s deep cultural roots.

From old to young, here are 25 Contemporary Chinese Artists You Need to Know.  . . .

Hua Tunan

Medium: Painting, Illustration

Based in: Foshan

At just 22 years old, Chen Yingie AKA Hua Tunan already possesses masterful skill and sage understanding of artistic tradition. He draws on classical styles and methods using modern media like spray paint and his signature “ink splatter” and paper cuts. His striking compositions often feature natural subjects, particularly animals, and with nimble technique and a bold sense of color.

 

Xu Bing

Medium: Installation

Based in: Beijing

Xu Bing has been a major player in Chinese art for over 30 years. He creates extremely complex, systematic projects that often become large-scale, attention-grabbing installations. In 1987, he developed a vocabulary of 4,000 symbols that appear like Chinese characters but have absolutely no meaning in any language. He carved each into a wooden block and hand-printed them into a series of nonsense volumes, known as Book from the Sky. He later tattooed a pig with his made-up characters and put it in a pen with another pig inked with nonsense words in the English alphabet; the piece became notorious when the two pigs started going at it in the exhibition. Xu has also invented and even taught classes in Square Word Calligraphy, a method of writing English words in a script that looks like Chinese characters. His recent work has focused on non-linguistic matters, as the aptly-named Phoenix above, which was created from the demolition debris and materials found on Chinese construction sites.

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