Chris Moore: What's wrong with Chinese art?
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[楼主] art-pa-pa 2009-12-10 17:01:54

source: Saatchin Online Magazine & TV
Author: Chris Moore

Know when a loaded question is pointed at you. The first warning signal is the parentheses - what is being questioned here? China receives a lot of criticism, some deserved, some misplaced, some simply wrong. Similarly, Chinese art is often cast as superficial, clichéd, repetitive, over-hyped and over-priced. But is it?

1. Prejudice

Arthur Solway, director of James Cohan Shanghai, notes that the main problem of Chinese art is the perception of Chinese art. The highly conflicted notion of a unitary 'Chinese Art' exists in the mind rather than on canvases, pedestals or DVDs. Outside of China, everyone's an expert on it, meaning they can vaguely recollect a grinning face (Yue Min Jun) or perhaps a baby with a red line (Zhang Xiao Gang). Actually, Chinese art is actually a little more complicated and diverse than that. And just because you might have misgivings about the government, is no reason to project them onto the art. After all, do you do that with American or Iranian art?

2. Public Galleries

Notwithstanding the desire of many artists to remain beyond the reach of state patronage, professional public galleries and museums are essential to any healthy art sector. Building a collection for the public good, including for reasons of historical and cultural patrimony, is a fundamental characteristic of all highly developed art sectors, including in the West and parts of the Middle East and Asia (Japan and Korea, for instance). Obviously this is undermined when public galleries, such as the Shanghai Museum of Art, demand payment for third parties mounting exhibitions rather than supporting an independent and rigorous curatorial team within the museum itself. The best of the private-public museums in China, such as Zendai MoMA in Shanghai and Today Art Museum in Beijing, are not without their faults but they still manage to regularly present excellent shows - Yang Fudong's 'Dawn Mist Separation' at Zendai earlier this year was sensational. On the other hand, that the Hong Kong government recently passed-up the opportunity to create a contemporary art museum in the old po:ice headquarters in favour of, astonishingly, yet another shopping centre, is both disgraceful and embarrassing.

to read the end of the article please click here: Saatchi online

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