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Mar 31 2014

Chinese Artists Fire Up the Armory

by Claire Sabel
Chinese Artists Fire Up the Armory

Contemporary Chinese art was the undisputed belle of the ball at this year’s Armory Show. The largest art fair in New York hosted 205 galleries from around the world, including 17 from the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong. The Armory’s “Focus” section, now in its fifth year, highlighted three decades of contemporary Chinese art, under the discerning eye of curator Philip Tinari, the Director of the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing. Clustered along the corridor connecting the modern section of the fair to the contemporary one, fairgoers could not transition between the two periods without encountering the many facets of the Chinese art scene—which, as Tinari emphasized, is making its own inroads too often overlooked by Western audiences. The following are some of the fair’s highlights from ArtAsiaPacific.

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Mar 27 2014

Concrete Love

by Jen Kwok
Concrete Love
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Mar 26 2014

Backward Glances at Art Dubai

by Ming Lin
Backward Glances at Art Dubai

At this year’s Art Dubai, journalists, collectors and art enthusiasts were invited to press their lips against history and breathe life into it, using art as a means for review and reflection. “When we resuscitate someone it’s somewhat disrespectful,” said Payam Sharifi a member of Slavs and Tatars, the artist collective who curated the Marker Section, which this year was devoted to works from Central Asia and the Caucasus. “They didn’t ask you to put your lips on theirs,” he cautioned.

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Mar 25 2014

Sustained Reflections: Interview with Eungie Joo

by Sylvia Tsai
Sustained Reflections: Interview with Eungie Joo

Last November, Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF), in the United Arab Emirates, announced Eungie Joo as curator of Sharjah Biennial 12, which opens in March 2015. Previously the director of art and cultural programs at Instituto Inhotim in Brumadinho, Brasil, and director and curator of education and public programs at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, Joo recently curated SAF’s seventh annual March Meeting, titled “Come Together.”  This four-day symposium of presentations and panel discussions by cultural practitioners has become a notable platform for exchange between artists, curators and researchers.  At the meeting, Joo spoke with ArtAsiaPacific on her initial impressions of the art conference, her approach to “reactivating” the format, and also shared some thoughts about the upcoming Biennial.

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Mar 24 2014

Light In Spite of the Storm: The 19th Biennale of Sydney

by Michael Young
Light In Spite of the Storm: The 19th Biennale of Sydney

Controversy has dogged the lead up to the opening of the 19th Biennale of Sydney (BoS), You Imagine What You Desire, with 9 artists pulling out pre-launch and over half of the exhibitors signing an open letter of protest to the biennale’s board over links between the event’s major sponsor Transfield, and off-shore asylum seeker detention centers.

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Mar 19 2014

Contemporary Asian Art at TEFAF 2014

by Paul Laster
Contemporary Asian Art at TEFAF 2014

Mixing more periods of art and design under one roof than any other art fair in the world, The European Fine Art Fair—best known as TEFAF Maastricht—launched its 27th edition on March 13 to an enthusiastic crowd of museum directors, curators, connoisseurs and collectors. 

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Mar 14 2014

The Pleasure of Getting Lost: Heman Chong at The Reading Room

by Jasmin Stephens
The Pleasure of Getting Lost: Heman Chong at The Reading Room

In September, on a Bangkok rooftop, a group of ‘wanderers and forgetters’ recently offered their concerted support as one of them struggled to memorise and retell word-for-word a story written by Heman Chong. They were gathered at Bangkok’s The Reading Room for the third in a series of exhibitions orchestrated by Chong—previously at Rossi & Rossi in Hong Kong and Future Perfect in Singapore—entitled The Part Of The Story Where We Lost Count Of The Days. The three-part structure of this work exemplifies the peripatetic artist-curator ’s mobility and sociability.

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Mar 13 2014

Concrete Love

by Jen Kwok
Concrete Love
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Mar 07 2014

Ink Art Makes a Splash at the Met

by HG Masters
Ink Art Makes a Splash at the Met

It is a timeless struggle, between the new and the old. Is “the new” more new than it is old? A lot depends on who is looking, and how artworks are framed. Maxwell K. Hearn, curator of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s survey of contemporary Chinese art—the staid institution’s first foray into the field—situated many 70 works by 35 mainland Chinese artists in low-lit halls and glass-encased displays normally reserved for the “classical” arts, emphasizing (occasionally to a contrived degree) the continuity with traditional arts of pieces that could just as easily hang on the brightly lit walls, or sit on the concrete floors, of a gallery of modern or contemporary art. Thankfully free of over-hyped art-historical claims and market-driven bluster that often despoils Chinese contemporary art exhibitions, “Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China” was an engaging, subtly political survey of three decades of art-making, in spite of some of its most obvious curatorial inconsistencies—most notably, the prevalence of works that have less connection to the titular “ink art” legacy and instead derive from other Chinese traditions. No matter, the tangents brought a welcome diversity, revealing living artists’ many ways of being steeped in the old and contributing something new.

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