Here & Now: Chinese Artists in New York Chapter 1

September 22, 2009 - November 02, 2009

Curated by Zhijian Qian

Chapter I: Visual Memories

This exhibition showcases twelve contemporary artists of Chinese heritage, who over the last two decades have established their careers in the global metropolis of New York. Presented in three consecutive chapters—Part I: Visual Memories, Part II: Crossing Boundaries, and Part III: Towards Transculturalism—Here & Now examines the shifting relationship between the artist and tradition, the crossing of boundaries in a multicultural environment, and the reinvention of culture. In a swiftly globalizing world, with China quickly emerging as a new superpower, New York’s Chinese artists are asking themselves, “Why still here?” and “Why still now?”


Visual Memories presents Chinese artists in New York who have connected anew with the artistic traditions of their homeland. Before their migration out of China, the four featured artists, Xu Bing, Yun-Fei Ji, Lin Yan and Cui Fei had very limited exposure to traditional Chinese art and culture. In fact, they were largely trained in Western art. The artists’ detachment from the Chinese tradition was further encouraged by the unprecedented enthusiasm of China’s “Reform and Open-Door” policy, which embraced modern Western art and culture.


Only when they were immersed in the Western art world and that of New York City in particular, did they begin their journey of reconnecting with a tradition they had once left behind, unexplored. The works on view show how each artist reconnects with tradition through the language of visual memory, exploring its significance and value from the lens of a Chinese in New York.


The exhibition will also be accompanied by a series of panel discussions, artist workshops, and a full-color, illustrated catalogue that features interviews with artists Xu Bing and Wenda Gu. The subsequent chapters of the exhibition will be mounted on November 19, 2009 and on January 21, 2010.

   Download the Here and Now Postcard