October 1, 2005
MASS MoCA Spotlights Key Thinkers and Milestone Art Work from Asia
Major Huang Yong Ping Retrospective
Long-Bin Chen exhibition
Cai Guo-Qiang, Inopportune & Artist Symposium
Ibrahim Quirashi's Five Streams residency and performance
(North Adams, Mass.) In a two-year series of landmark exhibitions, artist residencies, symposia and educational programs, MASS MoCA is highlighting important group of Asian artists, both established and emerging: visual artists Huang Yong Ping, Long-Bin Chen, and Cai Guo-Qiang, directors Chen Shi-Zheng and Ibrahim Quirashi, and novelist Amy Tan are among those featured. In a parallel program, the Williams College Museum of Art is hosting a related exhibition of Chinese painting Masterworks of Chinese Painting: In Pursuit of Mists and Clouds.
On October 30 Cai Guo-Qiang's Inopportune will close, ending a one year showing of what many critics have declared a landmark work within that artist's career. In one of the most stunning and popular exhibits ever to inhabit MASS MoCA's football-field sized Building 5 Gallery, nine white cars, arrayed in space as though a single car caught in a stop motion photograph, hurtle though the gallery, enveloped by pulsating rods light. In an adjacent galleries, Cai presents 9 life-sized tigers, each shot through with one hundred bronze-tipped arrows. A 90 second video loop of Times Square evokes our worst dreams, while a beautifully rendered and heroically-scaled "gunpowder drawing" reinforces the sense that the whole sequence of powerful images is a series of inter-looped dreams. To mark the end of the vast, multi-part installation, Cai will visit North Adams on Oct 27th to participate with author Nicolas Mirzoeff in a public conversation entitled Artistic Meditations on a World Unsettled. The talk will focus on aesthetic responses to public violence. This panel will be moderated by Ed Epping, an artist and professor at Williams College who has sent a simple email postcard with straightforward facts about the war in Iraq to thousands of people every day since the war began.
"Inopportune was just the first in a series of exhibitions and residencies that will provide a forum for what we believe is some of the most exciting and compelling artistic thought being produced anywhere in the world today," said MASS MoCA Director Joseph Thompson. "Rather than attempt a single survey, or theme show, we've opted to work in depth with a few of the leading practitioners, introducing our audience to some of the most lively and beautiful art emerging from within pan-Asian culture today."
Born in China and living in France, Huang Yong Ping has a clear view of the rapidly changing lines that demarcate East from West, tradition from modernity. House of Oracles, the first-ever retrospective of his work, will open at MASS MoCA (the exhibition's only East coast venue) on February 18, 2006. Organized by the Walker Art Center, the exhibition muses on history, cultural identity, and globalization through 40 surprising - and sometimes jaw dropping - works ranging from a gladiatorial arena for insects to a 20-ton sand castle to a full size airplane fuselage. Ping has been shown two previous times at MASS MoCA, first as part of Unnatural Science in 2000 and more recently with Dragon Boat, a major work of sculpture commission and fabricated by MASS MoCA as part of its Yankee Remix exhibition in 2004.
Huang's sculptures and installations -- drawing on the legacies of Joseph Beuys, Arte Povera, and John Cage as well as traditional Chinese art and philosophy -- routinely juxtapose traditional objects or iconic images with modern references. Eight-Legged Hat (2000) pairs ancient Egyptian ibis with a pith helmet, reflecting Egypt's colonial past. Other works resonate with more recent events: Bat Project II (2002) is a replica of the wing from the U.S. spy plane that collided with a Chinese fighter jet in 2001, setting off a weeklong international standoff. Two Typhoons (2001) consists of the prayer scrolls from a dismantled Tibetan prayer wheel, echoing the continuing conflict between Communist China and Buddhist Tibet.
Long-Bin Chen's Reading Sculptures will be in Kidspace through January. This Taiwanese artist is renowned for his sculptures composed mostly of the forgotten physical detritus of contemporary society -- telephone directories, books, magazines, and newspapers. He incorporates Asian iconography like Buddha heads and Japanese warrior figures, as well as imagery from other cultures into his work, using local printed material from the communities in which he is an artist-in-residence. Most viewers will be surprised to learn that Chen's sculptures are soft and made from paper since at first glance they appear to be masonry - stone-like in coloration and density. Chen will be in residence in North Adams for six weeks working on the installation and working in the local schools.
In the past three weeks, MASS MoCA hosted artist and director Ibrahim Quirashi in an extended residency to produced and rehearse Five Streams, his newest production. Co-presented with The Asia Society of New York, the multimedia performance work melded voice, live and pre-recorded sound, movement, video, and three-dimensional animation A host of collaborating artists -- including Paul D. Miller (a.k.a. DJ Spooky) creating an interactive sound mix, and Xavier Hool designing spaces and costumes - participated in the creation of the work. The multi-media dance-theater enveloped viewers in the beliefs, mythologies, and cultures of the five nations of modern South Asia by exploring the underlying - and too often overlooked - shared stories and philosophies of three foundational texts in the cultures of the region: Anarkali, a tragic court romance of Mughal India; the Bhagavad-Gita, the deeply philosophical climax of the Indian epic Mahabharata; and Who Knoweth Himself, a mystical treatise by the Sufi philosopher Ibn al-Arabi.
Williams College Museum of Art's Masterworks of Chinese Painting: In Pursuit of Mists and Clouds presents a stunning panorama of distinguished Chinese painting from the Ching YŁan Chai collection of the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA). The Ching YŁan Chai collection includes major figure painting and a selection of bird and flower paintings. Its greatest strength, however, is its landscapes. Considered the highest category of painting in China, the landscape embodies the ideals of the Confucian scholar. The exhibition encompasses 60 hanging scrolls, hand scrolls, and album leaves dating from the Song, YŁan, Ming, and Qing dynasties to the early twentieth century.
Major support for MASS MoCA's series of programs on contemporary Chinese artists has been provided by the W.L.S. Spencer Foundation. Additional support has been provided by the Maxine and Stuart Frankel Foundation for Art, the Nimoy Foundation, Holly Angell Hardman and the Appelbaum-Kahn Foundation. (List all other sponsors, including the contractual sponsors for HYP.)
The Cai Guo Qiang talk is supported in part by gifts from the W.L.S. Spencer Foundation, Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities, The Evelyn Stefanson Nef Foundation and Evelyn S. Nef. Tickets can be purchased through the MASS MoCA Box Office located off Marshall Street in North Adams from 11 A.M. until 5 P.M. (closed Tuesdays). Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling 413.662.2111 during Box Office hours or purchased online at www.massmoca.org.
MASS MoCA's galleries are open from 11 - 5, closed Tuesdays. Admission is $10 adults/$8 students/$4 children 6 - 16, free for children 5 and under and free for members at all times.
MASS MoCA, the largest center for contemporary visual and performing arts in the United States, is located off Marshall Street in North Adams on a 13-acre campus of renovated 19th-century factory buildings.
For Immediate Release
Contact: Katherine Myers
(413) 664-4481 x8113
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