In this special closing event for Turn It On: China on Film, 2000–2017, join cocurators of Art and China After 1989Alexandra Munroe, Samsung Senior Curator, Asian Art, and Philip Tinari, Director of the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, as they reflect upon their curatorial experiences and address broader themes in the exhibition and film series that touch upon China from 2007 to the present. The discussion will be moderated by Andrew Solomon, award-winning author and president of PEN America, copresenter of Turn It On. A screening of Ai Weiwei’s Fairytale (2007) immediately follows.
$20, $15 members, $10 students. Refreshments will be available for purchase in The Wrightfrom 5:15–6:30 pm.
Directed by Ai Weiwei艾未未
Mandarin with English subtitles, 153 min.
In 2007 Ai Weiwei took part in Documenta 12 with a participatory event called Fairytale, after the Brothers Grimm who were born in Kassel, the German city that hosts the famed art exhibition. Ai invited 1,001 people from China, many of whom had never been abroad before, to travel to Germany, live in a dormitory of Ai’s design, and freely wander the city and the exhibition. Ai’s studio recruited the applicants from the Internet. He also sent 1,001 Ming period–style wooden chairs, which were arranged throughout the exhibition hall as gathering spaces. Fairytale opens with the project’s inception and takes us through its full enactment, recording the experiences of participants of all backgrounds to create a series of portraits woven together by a single event.
Organized by the Guggenheim Museum in conjunction with Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World. Presented in collaboration with PEN America. Support is provided by The Hayden Family Foundation. A program of the Sackler Center for Arts Education.
First the good news. “Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World,” now appearing at the Guggenheim Museum in New York through January 7, samples China’s most fertile and challenging post-Mao period of art production in ways that are stimulating for specialists and general viewers alike. Organized by three experts intimately involved in the history they present—Alexandra Munroe, the Guggenheim’s senior curator of Asian art; Philip Tinari, director of the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing; and Hou Hanru, artistic director of MAXXI, the National Museum of 21st Century Art, in Rome—the exhibition eschews a strict chronological format. Instead, it strives, through savvy and sometimes unexpected selections, creatively mixed, to convey the ferment of a time in China when liberation was in the air, anything seemed possible, and avant-garde artists, at first little appreciated (and sometimes persecuted) at home, sought to take their place in the global art system. The realization that those times have sadly changed is due in equal measure to a cultural revanchism in the People’s Republic of China and a resurgence of moral provincialism in the United States.
Originally published in The Economist | NEW YORK
A new exhibition focuses on art that was made in or inspired by China between 1989 and 2008
HANGING from the ceiling of the magnificent rotunda that Frank Lloyd Wright created for the Guggenheim Museum in 1959 is an undulating black dragon. Twenty-six metres (85 feet) long, it is made almost entirely of the inner tubes of bicycles. Its head is a sculptural confection of broken cycles, its rear a writhing excrescence of black rubber loops. The visual etymology is obviously and satisfyingly Chinese. Then you notice hundreds of tiny black cars crawling all over its underbelly, like head lice on a schoolchild—symbolic of the moment when the country, in the headlong pursuit of economic growth, swerved from pedal power to petroleum.
Under pressure from online petitions and on-site protests, the Guggenheim Museum last month withdrew or modified three works of art that involved animals from its survey of Chinese contemporary art, called “Art and China After 1989: Theater of the World.” The titular work in the show, a sculptural vitrine, was originally filled with live insects and reptiles, which the museum removed.