CHINA-ISM II: DEMOCRACY OR ECONOMY?
ANTON S. KANDINSKY AND AI WEIWEI
CURATED BY DAVID RONG AND ALEX DEMKO
SEPTEMBER 13 – OCTOBER 9, 2011
OPENING RECEPTION SEPTEMBER 22, 2011 6-8PM
China has galvanized a powerhouse economy, and its contemporary art is now in a state to deliver a Viagra effect to the contemporary art world at large. When Andy Warhol transformed Mao into a pop art icon through his larger than life portrait, Mao entered the international art scene and became a timeless symbol of what New York-based artist Anton S.Kandinsky calls “China-ism.”
“China-ism” is an artistic interpretation of contemporary China – its culture, politics and economy coined by Kandinsky, a non-Asian artist. It also serves as a way for the international art community to reflect on contemporary China via art. The first China-ism exhibition was curated by David Rong and Alex Demko in October of 2009.
While China’s economy has changed dramatically over the last twenty years, the state of democracy in the country has not changed at all. Merely an artist seeking and defending his freedom of speech, Ai Weiwei was detained on April 3, 2011 and was held in an unknown location by the Chinese government for 80 days. Just over a month into the artist’s arrest, Alexandra Munroe, Senior Curator of Asian art at the Guggenheim Museum, spoke at the opening of Ai Weiwei’s Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads in New York City (an opening the artist was formerly scheduled to attend) stating that if there is no freedom of speech, there is no modern art and that the world is not challenging the Chinese government but that the Chinese government is in fact challenging the world.
The exhibition, China-ism II: Democracy or Economy?, asks the question: “If China is already changing the world, will the world change China?” The exhibition presents 13 oil paintings by Kandinsky as well as one original photograph, Guard, Seven Frames (1994) and video art I’m walking on the road to Dead! Land (2010) by Ai Weiwei.
If Wassily Kandinsky’s works are representative of revolutionary change in the early twentieth century, Anton S.Kandinsky has upheld the tradition begun by his forefather. Well known for his “Gemism” paintings, begun in 2004,these works are composed of naturalistic images of gemstones intermingling with flags, ideograms, political figures and celebrities as well as historical and social iconography from China, the former Soviet Union as well as American pop culture.
White Box, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, provides a unique site for curators and artists alike to present exhibitions and explore non-commercial, innovative ideas via projects that range from aesthetically exciting to provocative.
VIP reception/press conference September 15, 2011
Opening reception September 22, 2011
Panel discussion, “Democracy or Economy? China-ism in the Contemporary World” with academics, economists, and artists September 29, 2011
To view images of works see http://antonkandinsky.com/art-projects_china_ism_II.html
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