In recent years, the editors at ArtAsiaPacific have noted a growing phenomenon: more and more people in the art world today are working across vastly different practices. Artists making feature films and film producers mounting curatorial projects, for instance; architects, web designers and beekeepers working as artists; and even financiers moonlighting as art critics.
Beijing’s art ecosystem is filled with turmoil and distortion, yet it pulses with complexity and life. If Chinese avant-garde art from previous decades attracted attention and garnered acclaim through its exposure and criticism of oppressive politics or restrictive ideologies, then the current art is challenged with breaking through the shackles of market forces and monetary gain.
I have spent more than half of my 40 years in the art world without the benefit of the internet. Its advent and growth, particularly in the last decade, have catapulted art into a bigger world with more participants and greater access to information and reproductions. But to become an educated viewer, seeing art in person is paramount.
It is eerily fitting that the final exhibition by Dubai’s The Third Line gallery in the space it has called home for the past nine years should be entitled “The Sands of Time.” French-Algerian artist Zineb Sedira’s photographic meditation on the worldwide sugar trade spoke metaphorically of uneasy impermanence, of endless shifting and resettling, and of the frail traces left behind by our transient presence.
Tomoo Gokita is an outsider among Tokyo art insiders. With his boyish charm, he is sociable yet reticent. He regularly declares his love for beer and professional wrestling—particularly the 1976 match between Japan’s Antonio Inoki and American champion boxer Muhammad Ali.
As artistic director of Documenta 11, Okwui Enwezor wrote his own criteria for the curatorial avant-garde in a 2002 essay entitled “The Black Box.”
In 1995, Chatchai Puipia painted a luridly hued, maniacally grimacing visage, Siamese Smile, which soon became the foremost icon of Southeast Asian contemporary art. Since then, Chatchai has become known for his mocking self-portraits, numbering among the dozen or so artists of his generation to pioneer Thailand’s cultural transition from modernist to contemporary art.