The Melting Pot Art Basel Hong Kong – Art Asia Pacific.com

http://artasiapacific.com/Blog/TheMeltingPotArtBaselHongKong

Love the title! I love the author’s idea of calling the Asian version of Art Basel a Melting Pot. I love it because it’s utopian. And it’s paradox at the same time since it’s discussed within the idea of an international art fair where the art is naturally “nation-branded”. But it also recalls that contemporary art is one of the strongest media enabling us to reshape the discourse of cross-border communication BECAUSE of its unique visual language that goes beyond political contents and/or social phenomena.

 

Eternity (2013), Xu Zhen’s majestic merging of two headless sculptures, blended Eastern and Western traditions of idolatry at ShangART Gallery.

Eternity (2013), Xu Zhen’s majestic merging of two headless sculptures, blended Eastern and Western traditions of idolatry at ShangART Gallery.

 

 

Filmmaker Alex Rivera

Irvine California – Artist talks, panel discussions or lectures that are given by artists at university events can be an interesting alternative setting to learn about practices in the contemporary art scene. Today afternoon, Filmmaker Alex Rivera talked about borders, technology and immigration activism at the University of California Irvine. The event was held by the film and media department in collaboration with the Chicano/Latino Studies Department, the Immigration Rights Clinic and the School of Law UCI.
image

Alex Rivera is a digital media artist and filmmaker who uses a variety of forms to explore issues of labor, migration and cross-border-communities. The presentation started with a scene from his feature film Sleep Dealer, a science-fiction filmset in Tijuana, Mexico, which won two awards at Sundance 2008, including the Waldo Salt screenwriting award. The film scene can be described as the visual essence of Rivera’s current research and filmmaking practice as it shows the absurd contradiction between indistinction of political borders with the help of  technology (eg. borderless digital spaces) and at the same time enforcement of borders through applying technology (eg. digitalization of fingerprints for deportation). According to Rivera, this contradiction is an abnormal situation which has to be solved sooner or later. The aspect of technological development or the role of technology is often neglected in many of the current research dealing with migration and border communities. Bringing in the aspect of technology to this subject is refreshing in terms of allowing the subject to be viewed from a different perspectives.

According to Rivera everything such as information, money, objects and brands are moving with the flow of transnationalism but that there are still people (‘working class folks’) divided and limited through borders. There is no doubt that national borders are important for security purposes, nevertheless their existence demand a new concept, which allows more freedom of move, especially in a time of extreme transnationalism and globalisation.

More about Alex Rivera:
Interview with the artist
Artist’s homepage

Meeting George Herms – The How and the Why

image

George Herms selecting the final works for Body Language, Copyright by Natalie Park

Santa Ana/ California, March 3rd 2014 – Who is George Herms? According to the internet he was

born in 1935 and an American artist best known for making assemblages out of discarded, often rusty, dirty or broken every-day objects, and juxtaposing those objects so as to infuse them with poetry, humor and meaning. He is also known for his many different types of works on paper, including works with ink, collage, drawing, paint and poetry.

After meeting him today and sitting behind him for more than five painstaking hours in a dark room with only light coming from the computer screen, this is George Herms to me:
A person who is unbelievably calm and patient. A person who lives art and shows appreciation for art with his whole attitude and mindset.

I met George Herms this morning for our first meeting to select the final pieces for the Body Language show. A huge number of entries came in – probably also due to the famous juror of the show. When I first heard about the meeting, I instantly got curious about what the process of selecting (or elimination) by this juror would look like. Also to see on what type of criteria and standard he would choose and review the artworks seemed to be a rare experience. As soon as we met and introduced to each other, we sat down and OCCCA member Jeffrey Frisch and me helped him scrolling and clicking through more than 500 images. He started intuitively selecting the pieces. It seemed almost impossible to zoom in every image due to their large number and our planned time, but he was very keen on viewing every single image and devoting each of them the same amount of consideration and time. After he decided to turn off the lights in the office room, I had to leave the room several times just to grasp some natural light and to walk around because I felt dizzy being kept in the little dark room with only artificial screen light as the only light source. I felt embarrassed and bad because he did not move once. His concentration and appreciation for the artists and the works he was looking at were impressive. Later Jeffrey Frisch told me that they had to meet again and ended up spending 16 hours(!) for selecting the pieces. Unfortunately there wasn’t a lot of explanations about WHY certain works were selected, but HOW he did it made me speechless and learn a lot about how some artists devote their time and soul for other artist and art in general. As a curator and researcher it was a precious time to learn and realize that sonetimes explanation, theory , criteria and the why is secondary compared to the superiority of the how – the process itself, the intuition and embodiment of art by the artist him-/herself.

Body Language – Installing the Show

image

Body Language Installing, copyright by Natalie Park

Santa Ana/California, April 1st 2014 – The Body Language exhibit slowly starts to impress with visually captivating colors and forms.

image

Body Language Installing, copyeight by Natalie Park

Today we hung most of the pieces and rearranged some of the other pieces. Installing a show and arranging the spots for the pieces is like watching a puzzle come together. The gallery room becomes the white canvas and as the individual artworks come together you arrange them in a certain way so that they create another bigger story parallel to their individual ones. As the visitor will see in the coming exhibit the viewer will be shifted not only through captivating color palettes but also he/she will be guided through history of art.

image

Body Language Installing, copyright by Natalie Park

Body Language – Unpacking Day

image

Copyright by Natalie Park

Santa Ana, March 30th 2014 – It feels like Christmas when there are over 60 packages and boxes with art pieces waiting for you to be unpacked.

image

Copyright by Natalie Park

Today is the beginning day of unwrapping and unpacking the pieces which will be showcased in the coming OCCCA exhibiti Body Language. A show juried by George Herms and curated by us, the OCCCA members. The excitement is in the air and it is again when you realize that no good photographie of a piece can do justice to the original art piece.

image

Copyright by Natalie Park

2013 California-Pacific Triennial

Newport Beach, Oct. 22nd 2014 – The 2013 California-Pacific Triennial is supposedly the only exhibition in the Western Hemisphere devoted to contemporary art from around the Pacific Rim. The international exhibition is curated by Dan Cameron, OCMA’s new chief curator, and hosted by the Orange County Museum of Art in Newport Beach, California. I have to say, that the exhibit IS something very unique and special and I would not have had the opportunity to see something like this, if I had not moved to California four months ago.

The triennial is dating back to the year when I was born – namely 1984 – to its first edition as California Biennial. The former California Biennial, as Dan Cameron describes it, “was a literal embodiment of a period in California art during which the evolving definition of the state’s cultural identity was framed as a platform for promoting both the artist and the place itself”. Today, I guess, not only art museums but also artists and other art professionals have to constantly redefine the meaning of Californian art and its meaning within the global context. The 2013 California-Pacific Triennial seems to reflect such efforts, giving an answer to the challenging task of developing new frameworks for thinking about California and its art.

For a little local museum putting on a triennial is pretty audacious and fierce (or maybe it was possible BECAUSE it is a relatively smaller local museum). I am impressed with the visually captivating presentation and the production of an internal narrative of the artworks that is guiding you effortlessly throughout the exhibition from beginning to the end. And still, the presentation gives you enough room to put in your own thought and interpretation, something I love to have when I look at an exhibition.

Since I am volunteering at the OCMA throughout the whole period of the triennial, I am fortunate to dive in deeper and explore the artworks with more time. And sometimes time works like magic, because it give you a whole set of new perspectives and fresh emotions when looking at the same pieces over and over again. One of my favorite artist during the triennial exhibition is ARAYA RASDJARMREARNSOOK with her work titled TWO PLANETS: MILLET’S THE GLEANERS AND THE THAI FARMERS, 2008. Since I am doing some research on cultural and racial identity representation in Western art museums, I was drawn to her piece immediately. The photograph, which comes with a video installation, speaks for itself. And I say that because in her images we do not see a lot of physical action but rather a mood which is almost meditative and calming. It makes the visitor focus on the IDEA that is presented, which often in her recent work is dealing with communication or non-communication between two different cultures and each of their definition of art.

The same idea of communication between different cultures connects also to the big idea of this triennial. Having 32 cutting edge contemporary artists telling stories about THE and THEIR world gives you an overwhelming feeling of participating in an imaginary international conference with artists. Where the communication is omnipresent (in every edge of the museum) and the definition of what is art nowadays, is open to every kind of interpretation.

Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook, Two Planets: Millet's The Gleaners and the Thai Farmers,2008 Digital pigment print

Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook,
Two Planets: Millet’s The Gleaners and the Thai Farmers,2008
Digital pigment print

High Museum of Art, Atlanta / USA

If you like Jazz and visual art, this is probably the place to be: The Friday Jazz Night at the HIGH MUSEUM OF ART in Atlanta. I was seriously waiting for the Friday since Monday and could not wait to join the night with music and art.

The Jazz event in the main hall of the museum is free with the admission ticket. As soon as we got in many people were already inside, orbiting the Jazz group performing. Daniel and me were relishing the atmosphere right in front of the band with a glass of wine. After half an hour we decided to walk up to the galleries. From the gallery levels where you can enjoy the permanent collection you can still see the people downstairs performing and hear the music since the whole complex is design as a open building.

This is a wonderful way to combine music and visual art and a good alternative museum visit. Museums should do more interdisciplinary events like this. Next time I would like to see a dance-visual art exhibit!

Friday Jazz Night at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta Copyright by Natalie Park

Friday Jazz Night at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta
Copyright by Natalie Park