Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sunday Crusing the Internet

The "Art of Shanghai" exhibit at the Asian is closing soon so I went over to revisit some of my favorite pieces. I really wish they had more room for painting like the one below as well as more posters from the Cultural Revolution. I sat through half of a disappointing lecture by a visiting Chinese scholar on the art of Shanghai, held in the gorgeous room that used to be the old catalog hall for the San Francisco Public Library

While he droned on in Chinese, with the necessary lapses for the translator, all the images I saw projected were long distance shots of lots and lots of museum buildings. There was no critical analysis. I might as well have read a guide book.  However, kudos to the young translator who handled the situation very well. Jay Xu, the Director of the Museum, was sitting next to me and at one point I leaned over and told him, "I should have studied Chinese in college instead of French." He laughed but I did find myself thinking, "Well, maybe it's not too late."(Note to self- do you really need another long term project?)

I'll post a link to iTunes when the lecture is up but, trust me, it's rather boring. However, the Asian Art Museum does have a lot of interesting lectures up and they are worth checking out.

Boring is the last thing you could say about Zheng Chongbin, whose painting "Dimensions of Ink" is one of the most stunning pieces in the show. Shanghai born, he studied in China before traveling to the U.S.where he received am MFA from the SFAI in 1991. He now spends his time between China and the U.S.. His work reflects influences from both cultures - Chinese Ink meets Franz Kline!  His work is abstract and yet, resonates with subtle reminders of traditional Chinese landscape painting. He paints with ink on paper but uses acrylic and fixer to create a sense of depth and darken the blacks for greater contrast.  When I heard him talk, he spoke of how traditional Chinese painting - particularly contemporary traditional painting - can suffer from washed out colors and lack of spacial depth. Now, there's a talk that's worth listening to - insightful, analytical and yet, with an artist's passion for his craft.

Good Grief - Another day, another child prodigy ( I wonder what happened to the last one; if I remember correctly, she was only four when her father started shilling her works around)

He's Britain's most talked-about young artist. His paintings fetch hefty sums and there's a long waiting list for his eagerly anticipated new works.
Read more:

So you think you are an artist. Uh huh. Oh yeah. It's really too bad that making art is turned into another reality show. I suppose it was inevitable but it further cheapens any real understanding of art and the artistic process. Since most high schools have had to cut out art (and music and dance) and anything resembling creativity due to endless budget cuts, it's probably the only way that a lot of people will ever come in contact with art -- and what a sad commentary for our times.

Regina Hackett is not impressed (nor am I
Jerry Saltz's recap of the finale

Great review of the series  "All over Coffee" (in one of my favorite blogs "Lines and Colors):

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