Saturday, October 13, 2012

Shanghai seeks premier art status with new museums - posted by Florida Fine Art Blog

The China Art Palace, formerly the China Pavilion


Shanghai seeks premier art status with new museums
By Bill Savadove (AFP)

SHANGHAI — Shanghai on Monday opened two new art museums on the former site of the 2010 World Expo, as China's commercial hub seeks to rival art capitals like New York and Paris.

The China Art Museum, intended to be Shanghai's premier showplace for modern art, threw open its doors in the former China pavilion, which was the signature building for the world's fair.

"The scale and configuration is matchless in Asia. It is close to America's Metropolitan Museum of Art, France's Musee d'Orsay and other internationally famous art museums," Shanghai culture chief Hu Jinjun said before the opening.

The government-backed museum has an exhibition space alone of 64,000 square metres (688,890 square feet), Hu told state media.

A new contemporary art museum also welcomed holiday crowds on Monday to exhibit works from the 1980s onwards and give a permanent home to Shanghai's annual art festival.

Called the "Power Station of Art", the 40,000-square-metre (430,556 square feet) museum takes its name from the former power station building which was converted for the Expo.

 The Power Station of Art

Critics have raised questions over how Shanghai will fill the massive spaces with meaningful exhibitions.

"They're basically modelling themselves on New York or London," said Chris Gill, a Shanghai-based artist and arts writer.

"China tends to build these huge art museums. The problem is what they're going to put in it. The content side is always compromised by the political situation," he told AFP.

China censors art that it considers politically sensitive or pornographic, with local officials having the right to pull individual works or shut down shows.
Shanghai officials in September barred display of a photo work by artist Chi Peng, which shows a gorilla at Beijing's famed Tiananmen Square, according to his microblog.

In 2006, Shanghai shut down an exhibition by dozens of Chinese artists at a private art museum for showing "pornographic" images, described as pictures of naked women.

The exhibitions in place for the opening of the China Art Museum are heavily weighted towards Chinese art, but one floor has foreign works including a painting by Rembrandt and another by Johannes Vermeer -- on loan from the Netherlands' Rijksmuseum.

Shanghai university student Wang Qingyong marvelled at the size of the new museum.

"There is a lot of space. More works will come," she said gazing at a painting by the American artist Robert Bechtle.
Shanghai has already tested the China Pavilion as a venue for art, spending $1.4 million for China's biggest ever exhibition of the works of Spanish artist Pablo Picasso last year, but attendance was lower than expected.

The city has high hopes for attendance, distributing free tickets for 10,000 people a day to the China Art Museum and 6,000 daily for the Power Station of Art over the week-long National Day holiday, which started Monday.

Link to Article
Link to another article about the Museums

Like there were not enough reasons to visit Shanghai, old and new.  These new Museums and the cities commitment to modern art will be tested by China's still very strict censorship policies.  Perhaps as long as the artists are Western and criticizing there own cultures they will get a pass.  But what happens when one of these museums shows work by a Chinese artist critical of the Chinese government?  When China's best known contemporary artist Ai Wei had an opening last year in New York, the Chinese government jailed him so he could not be at his own show. Imagine how they would react to a retrospective of his work at one of the new museums in Shanghai that they fund.  GL

Link to Free Ai Weiwei website



2 comments:

scott davidson said...

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You can browse for a painting like this The tree, by 20th century Czech artist, Frantisek Kupka, for example, http://EN.WahooArt.com/A55A04/w.nsf/OPRA/BRUE-8LHUQV , that can be ordered on line and delivered to you.

Mark Martin said...

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Artists from the Han (202 BC) to the Tang (618–906) dynasties mainly painted the human figure. Much of what is known of early Chinese figure painting comes from burial sites, where paintings were preserved on silk banners, lacquered objects, and tomb walls. Many early tomb paintings were meant to protect the dead or help their souls get to paradise. Others illustrated the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius, or showed scenes of daily life.
There are over 500 lots of porcelain in the sale. Highlights include a Doucai jar, China, painted with blue and green dragons, chasing pearls amidst clouds, with a ruyi pattern above, and a Qianlong mark on the base, measuring 7" x 7 1/2", valued at $3,000-$5,000 and a late 19th early 20th century, Chinese, Famille Rose Vase, the exterior painted with an idyllic rural landscape scene including, mountains and figures, with a Guangxu mark on the base, measuring 17" x 8 1/2" valued at $3,000-$4,000.

Chinese art MA