Much digital ink has been spilled about Google’s new initiative to integrate its various platforms to profile users and ‘provide them with a better experience.’ Basically, what they’re doing is compiling the profile information it once kept on separate platforms, so that it can get a better idea of who you are. Here is one good article that looks at the implications .
I will leave the privacy issues in more capable hands for the moment. What I want to talk about is a more concrete difference that has emerged recently. Basically, Google, as a tool, seems to be getting dumber, at least at the tasks I use it for.
As a translator, Google has been a godsend. My art translation work requires me to track down a lot of obscure quotes, not only from art history tombs, but from every facet … Read More »
After a bit of tinkering, I’ve got a decent system setup for events listings. Check it out here. Don’t forget to send me your events…
I had the great pleasure today to meet Xu Bing, a towering figure in the early history of Chinese contemporary art. We were in Shenzhen for the opening of Textual Logic, an exhibition of works by Xu Bing and calligraphers Wang Dongling and Qiu Zhenzhong at the OCT Contemporary Art Terminal.
Xu Bing rose to fame in 1998 with the release of A Book from Heaven, an artwork that was monumental on many levels. It was a massive tome printed with old-school movable type dies. The book’s accordion-folded pages stretched from floor to ceiling several times over in the exhibition hall at Beijing’s Central Academy of Fine Arts. The walls were also covered with massive spreads from the book, all created using the same hand-carved printing dies.
So what was the book about? Here’s the thing: nobody knows, not even the artist. … Read More »
An employee at Sotheby’s New York has just published an entertaining account of life inside the storied auction house. There are no great surprises there, but it is quite well-written.
The auction scene is considered to be the tiny tip of the massive invisible iceberg that is today’s international art market, as galleries, dealers and private collectors, the bulk of the market, are loathe to discuss how much money is actually changing hands, while auction houses thrive on the publication of prices. Some of the larger houses are publicly listed now, so we know not only how much a certain dead artist’s works garnered in the auctions last year, but also that Sotheby’s CEO made nearly $6 million in 2010.
Despite that, the overall auction culture, both in-house and among frequent bidders, is still shrouded with an aura of secrecy. While revealing … Read More »
The Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business has just posted a video of Today Art Museum Director Zhang Zikang talking about the state of the Chinese contemporary art market. Zhang is the director of the Today Art Museum, the first independent contemporary art museum in China. He has played a very active role in the development of art institutions in China, promoting patronage, philanthropy and standards among independent museums. It’s always good to hear from a primary source.
Many outside observers condemn Chinese artists for catering to Western collector tastes by producing too much political pop and other art focused on the Cultural Revolution. Zhang spins this around by saying that Western interest in the political dimensions of artistic expression under the Chinese regime skewed the Western perspective from the beginning. This rings true to me. This focus on political themes … Read More »
Print art has always fascinated me, not only because it is within my reach as a collector, but also because it is the one medium in contemporary art that has its roots in China, and it embodies the diffusion of ideas between East and West. This medium, which began as the most primal, embryonic form of (semi)mass media, went on to play a major role in the rise of modernity in both Asia and the West, and is today a vibrant art form in its own right.
The earliest known woodcut print is a 7th century copy of the Diamond Sutra discovered in the caves of Dunhuang, along the Silk Road in western China. It was a crude but important means of disseminating religious texts and other important works in ancient China. In this earliest form, it was severely limited by … Read More »
I have a bit more tinkering to do before my events page is up to snuff. In the future, I hope to make this site a clearinghouse of sorts for information on upcoming Chinese art and cultural events. While I tinker around with that, here are some noteworthy upcoming events to put on your calendar:
Note: the Jue Market is actually on March 10, not March 13 as posted before
Through April 14: Sui Jianguo at Pace Beijing
A retrospective to mark this seminal Chinese conceptual artist’s joining of the Pace family. Location: Pace Beijing, 798 Art District. More information
Through April 15: Re: Painting at Platform China
An in-depth look at the medium and meaning of painting through the work of various Chinese artists. Artists include Bi Jianye, Gong Jian, Huang Liang, Hexie Baroque Group, Jia Aili, Jiang Guozhe, Ma Ke, Ou Yangchun,Qin Qi, Qi Wenzhang, Song … Read More »
In 2011, artist Lin Jingjing created the collaborative work Color of Memory, in which she asked several people to recount their most painful memories, describe them as objects and assign them a color. She then created paintings and readymade installations based on these recollections, pairing them with video of the participants’ responses. Below are some of the responses:
What is your most painful memory?
Fifteen years ago, I took my three year old daughter to go shopping at the mall. I spotted a pink one-piece dress that I had her try on. It fit her well, and looked really pretty on her. So I went to the register about ten meters away to pay for it. She was squirming around in front of the mirror, trying out various poses. She was only out of my sight for two minutes, and … Read More »
Yu Jian is a famous Chinese poet who resides in Kunming. This essay is the best homage to the city I have ever come across. It also contains his first poem, Green Park in Summer, written in 1973. I originally translated it for the now defunct Yunnan Magazine.
Though I’ve never left, I no longer recognize my hometown
Passing through this newborn city, I feel like a returning exile
Like a ghost returning to the temple, I still know
where the Li family well is, where the Zhang family garden is
where my grandmother’s rattan chair is, where her emerald earrings are
where the curtain hanging in the darkness is. I still know
where mother’s market is, where the eaves of the city god temple are
I can still hear the wind chimes, I can still see the bats in their grey robes
the sunset over the eucalyptus lake shimmering … Read More »
Kang Jianfei is a print artist and painter based at the Central Academy of Fine Art in Beijing. This essay by Tony Chang was written for a 2008 exhibition at Amelie Gallery. Visit their website for more information about Kang Jianfei
I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms,
But I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved
In what I know.
-Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird by Wallace Stevens
Kang Jianfei was born in Tianjin in 1973, and his life has always revolved around the academy. Since completing undergraduate and postgraduate studies at the China Central Academy of Fine Art, he has remained there as a member of the faculty. This once rambunctious student who was a constant headache to his teachers has now become the esteemed Instructor Kang.
The art academy, a hotbed of elitism, provided Kang with stability and social respect, allowing him … Read More »
In 1993, Chinese artist Ye Yongqing penned a memoir that summed up his life at that point, from his childhood during the Cultural Revolution to his artistic awakening and maturation as an artist. This excerpt mainly focuses on his first encounters with Western art and the heady days of the 1980s:
I got good scores on the college entrance exam in the first year, but I was rejected due to the results of my physical examination. I tested very poorly the next year, but for some strange reason I was accepted into a coveted position at the oil painting department of Sichuan Institute for Fine Arts. In my first year as a student, it was the standard training, plasters and sketches day after day with no variation. Everyone worked very hard then, and outside of class, our spare time was … Read More »
Welcome to the Crosby & Co. blog.
I will be using this space to post my musings about Chinese contemporary art, culture, music and just about anything that strikes my fancy.
The type of translation I do is often a slow, contemplative process, so unlike a lot of other blogs, I won’t be focusing on up-to-the-minute news and linkage. Instead, I plan to bring the kind of insight and analysis that only comes after the dust begins to settle. I will also provide links to interesting articles and essays from around the web, with a focus on Chinese voices.
If you’re interested in learning more about Chinese contemporary art or Chinese culture in general, please check out my linkage page, where I provide a list of good China blogs, art websites and other resources.
If you want to find out more about me and … Read More »