Pre-Fall Chinese Art Roundup 2012: Must-See Exhibitions

Highly Anticipated Events In China & The US

As summer comes to an end, we’re gearing up for the autumn art season with a selection of must-see exhibitions by top Chinese contemporary artists. In no particular order, here are Jing Daily’s picks for the best in Chinese art this fall:

ShContemporary 2012 (Shanghai, September 7-9, 2012)

This Friday, the sixth edition of the Asia-Pacific Contemporary Art Fair, better known as SH Contemporary, kicks off at the Shanghai Exhibition Centre, making this one of the busiest weekends in the city’s art calendar. SH Contemporary 2012 will feature over 100 selected galleries this year, with a focus on exhibiting and supporting contemporary art from throughout the Asia-Pacific region. With a jam-packed schedule filled with openings, studio visits and events, organized in cooperation with the some of China’s leading galleries and cultural initiatives, this year’s SH Contemporary will undoubtedly trump the high standards set last year.

Shanghai Exhibition Centre
No.1000 Yan An Road (Middle), Shanghai 200040

Zhang Shujian, "Black-2" (2012)


Bound Unbound: Lin Tianmiao (New York, September 7, 2012 – January 20, 2013)

Kicking off this weekend at New York’s Asia Society Museum is one of the most anticipated Chinese contemporary art exhibitions to ever hit the city, Bound Unbound by Lin Tianmiao, the first retrospective by one of China’s foremost female artists. Previously mentioned in Jing Daily’s summer exhibition roundup, Bound Unbound is Lin Tianmiao’s exploration of the human form through the exquisitely subtle use of handworked thread-winding, embroidery, and sculptural processes. Bound Unbound is just one segment of China Close Up, Asia Society’s year-long programmatic focus on China. Keep an eye on Jing Daily for our review of Bound Unbound next week, as members of our team will attend the opening.

Following the opening of Bound Unbound will be two public programs: a conversation and film series that further extend the discussion of China’s past, present, and future in art. The conversation, New Asian Art: Two Pioneers, will take place between Holland Cotter, a 2009 recipient of the Pulitzer Prize and the chief art critic of the New York Times, and Vishakha N. Desai, former President and CEO of Asia Society, as they reflect on the last two decades of new art from Asia and consider its ongoing development. Also coming up for New York-based Chinese art lovers (and in some ways echoing Lin Tianmiao’s retrospective), this fall the Asia Society will also present the film series, Goddess: Chinese Women on Screen.

Asia Society
725 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10021

Lin Tianmiao at the Asia Society Museum


Museum Openings in Expo Park (October 1, 2012)

The Urban Future Pavilion will soon reopen as a contemporary art museum

Heading back over to Shanghai, two new art museums are set to open to the public at the site of the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai’s Pudong New Area on October 1st, featuring works of art that have thus far stayed in storage at the city’s other museum spaces. The China Art Museum, Shanghai, which focuses on works of Chinese modern art from the late Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) to 1980, will find a new home in the China Pavilion while the Power Station of Art, dedicated to post-1980 contemporary works, will open in the renovated Pavilion of the Future.

Standing at 64,000 square meters with 27 exhibition halls and 15,000 square meters with 12 exhibition halls, the China Art Museum and the Power Station of Art, respectively, are two of the largest museums of their kind in Asia. “As the home of Chinese modern art,” Zong Min, deputy head of the Publicity Department of the CPC Shanghai Municipal Committee explains, “Shanghai has collected millions of works of art over the last two centuries. There are more than 30,000 boutique works of art kept in the city’s public museums and universities. [However,] because the Museum of Contemporary Art Shanghai and Shanghai Art Museum have a total of only 6,800 square meters of display space, many [artworks] have ended up locked up at a warehouse, out of…public view.”

With free admission, Hu expects the museums will receive 3 million visitors in their first year and “will continue to buy or accept donated works of boutique art from both home and abroad.”


Xu Bing: The Phoenix Project (North Adams, MA, December 8, 2012)

Finally, later in December, Xu Bing’s Phoenix Project will make its US premiere at MASS MoCA’s Building 5, showcasing Xu Bing’s two-year-long endeavor in creating two monumental birds fabricated entirely from materials harvested from construction sites in urban China. Never before seen outside of China, where the works were briefly exhibited outdoors at the Today Art Museum in Beijing and Expo 20120 in Shanghai, the Phoenix Project travels next to MASS MoCA as the centerpiece for a broader Xu Bing exhibition.

Crafted out of demolition debris, steel beams, tools, and remnants of the daily lives of migrant laborers, the Phoenix Project explores the complex interconnection between labor, history, commercial development, and the rapid accumulation of wealth in today’s China. At 12 tons, the male phoenix Feng, measuring 90 feet long, and the female Huang, reaching 100 feet in length, will be suspended mid-air inside the museum’s football field-sized space, illuminating the exhibit and dwarfing visitors as they meander through the installation.

MASS MoCA, Building 5
87 Marshall Street, North Adams, MA 01247

Xu Bing, "The Phoenix Project"

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