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Article

Yasuko Furuichi

Alternative spaces have stimulated and disrupted bureaucratic and static environments that stem from situations unique to Asian countries. As opposed to the definition provided in the Euro-American model in which alternative spaces are positioned against the mainstream, alternative spaces in this discussion are a group of contemporary art spaces which can be loosely identified as artist-run and independent curator-run spaces that do not have direct support from the state and government bodies in general. These spaces provide exhibition venues for national and international artists, develop educational programmes, raise the profile of curatorial methods and publish art magazines. In addition, the staff of alternative spaces can provide foreign curators with the latest local information, whereas in the past, certain curators were able to monopolize negotiations between arts professionals and local artists. Some of these alternative spaces have since attained privileged positions that have also exposed them to criticism.

Since 2000 these alternative spaces, many of which are artist-run, have founded non-profit organizations and transformed their activities and organizational structures. Because these spaces are financially dependent on grants from foreign cultural institutions or their national governments, they have difficulty securing long-term funds and management. While the flexibility and agility of these organizations risks their survival, the priority is in creating a space for young artists and curators to pursue experimental activities, rather than maintaining the status quo or becoming part of the establishment. The activities particular to alternative spaces are not necessarily a counter movement against mainstream arts activities; they may be more accurately described as a means of survival for new art....

Article

The concepts of internationalism and multiculturalism are fundamental factors in the emergence of Asian contemporary art. Multiculturalism and internationalism have been organizing principles for most international exhibitions since the 1990s, including the Venice Biennale and the São Paulo Biennial as well as the new exhibitions in Asia. Multiculturalism was adopted by nations such as Canada and Australia to promote cultural harmony amongst diverse immigrant groups. It is founded on the idea that all cultures have equal value. In the early 1990s the term gained popularity in the visual arts to describe the emergence of artists who belonged to different ethnic groups. Also the term acknowledges a time of increased mobility, when many artists hold multiple ethnic identities and have homes in multiple geographical locations.

This trend began with the magnificent exhibition, Magiciens de la Terre, held at the Centre Georges Pompidou and the Grande Halle de la Villette in Paris in ...

Article

East Asian, South Asian and South-east Asian women artists have made a unique contribution to contemporary art by incorporating culturally specific traditions drawn from sacred and secular aspects of art history and daily life—from altars to painting to domestic design—with traditional materials and new media such as video and digital imaging (see fig.). This artwork accesses the myriad of customs and languages that make up the region, with spirituality playing a larger role than in many other regions in the world. Artists often include elements in their work that display an identification with both Eastern and Western traditions and exhibit a balance between cultural differentiation and hybridity. Their explorations have often been aided by modern concepts of the female self, aided by feminist theory.

While some women work with narratives from the past, others negotiate new identities through the use of technologies such as iPods, camera videos and mini-TVs, which have taken particularly strong root in urban Asia. These polar references to the old and the new are often harnessed into a combined visual language that expresses modern life for women living in societies experiencing dramatic changes brought on by post-modernity. While gender and sexual identity have always been assumed important issues in women’s art, the blurring of boundaries in cultural roles has expanded possibilities for women artists even where general societal discrimination persists. The feminism that emerged in the USA and Europe in the 1970s has penetrated academic and artistic circles throughout Asia in an uneven pattern of influence. (The earliest generation of Western feminist art began with an exploration of the female body in relationship to societal norms.) Serious consideration, if not complete acceptance, of these new perspectives introduced Asian women to new conceptual and political frameworks, which were often overlaid onto such established images as female deities, ritual practices and strong role models from recent social history. In India and other post-colonial countries, women’s rights had been included in the paradigms of modern mid-20th century independence movements, laying the groundwork for regional interpretations of women’s experience....

Article

Asian modern and contemporary art is a discursive field because of its potential critique of existing art historical concepts, structures of knowledge and curatorial categories. It is not just the art of a discrete geographical zone, nor simply one which developed through a series of chronological successions. In the past Asia was assimilated under the term ‘Eastern’ as the antithesis of ‘Western’, which meant that ‘Asian’ never escaped being a projection of the ‘Western’. Thus the difficulty in understanding Asian modern and contemporary art is in reconstructing Asia as an intellectual concept, not as a naturalized reflection of Europe, nor as a set of Orientalist projections. The emergence of Asian modern and contemporary art has redefined modernity in Western art, and the need for such redefinition may account for the exclusion of Asian modern and contemporary art from serious consideration in the West until the 1990s.

Asian modern and contemporary art should not be seen as the product of positions adopted in the European and American metropolises by migrant artistic and intellectual communities. Art in many Asian cultures was potentially modern before the political and economic interpositions of 19th-century European and American colonialism. This art was also subject to the forces unleashed by the transfer of academic realism and later stylistic transformations (see Clark, ...

Article

Since the late 1980s and early 1990s, work by artists born in Asia has become increasingly visible in the West. Economic growth first in Japan, then in Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South-east Asia, and most recently in China, focused the attention of Western observers, and caused a new generation of curators to shift their sights from classical culture to contemporary art. At the same time, globalism became a curatorial imperative and the seminal, yet controversial, exhibition, Magiciens de la Terre, organized by Jean-Hubert Martin in 1989 at the Centre Georges Pompidou and Grande Halle de la Villette, Paris, included a strong selection of work by contemporary artists from Japan, China and India (see Globalization and art). Called a courageous attempt to depart from the hegemonic and monocentric cultural perspectives of Western European and American institutions (B. Bulloch, A. America, May 1989, p. 151), this exhibition stimulated an intellectual debate that continues to resonate in the 21st century. Some of the complex issues that characterize this debate include the definition of marginality, cultural authenticity and hybridity, contemporaneity and the co-existence of traditional and modern, local and global realities, the role of political and social context and critique, and the impact of colonial and neo-colonial influences and attitudes....

Article

Gensler  

Sara Stevens

American architectural firm started by Arthur Gensler Drue Gensler, and Jim Follett in 1965 in San Francisco, CA. M. Arthur Gensler jr (b Brooklyn, New York, 1935) attended Cornell University to study architecture (BArch, 1957). The firm began doing build-outs for retail stores and corporate offices, and initially established itself in the unglamorous area of interior architecture. Thirty years later and without mergers or acquisitions, it had grown to become one of the largest architecture firms in the world, having pioneered the global consultancy firm specializing in coordinated rollouts of multi-site building programmes. By 2012 the firm had over 3000 employees in over 40 offices. From the beginning, Art Gensler conceived of a global firm with multiple offices serving corporate clients whose businesses were becoming more international. Instead of the ‘starchitect’ model of his contemporaries such as I. M. Pei or Paul Rudolph, Gensler wanted an ego-free office that existed to serve client needs, not pursue a designer’s aesthetic agenda at the client’s expense. By adopting new web-based computing technologies and integrated design software in the early 1990s, the firm stayed well connected across their many offices and were more able than their competitors to manage large multi-site projects. Expanding from the services a traditional architecture firm offers, the company pushed into new areas well suited to their information technology and interiors expertise, such as organizational design, project management, and strategic facilities planning....

Article

[emerging art markets]

Since the 1980s art markets have developed rapidly outside of Europe and the USA. In the so-called BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) this development has been particularly dynamic. With aggregate sales estimated at €11.5 billion, China is the second largest market for art and antiques in the world after the USA (McAndrew 2014). Works of art made by modern and contemporary artists from all four countries regularly fetch more than $1 million at auction.

The rise of the BRICs has coincided with the global integration of what used to be local art markets: demand for and supply of particular artists or artistic movements may now be dispersed across the globe. The boom which global art markets have witnessed in the new millennium can be attributed partially to new buyers from countries like China and Russia developing an interest in art, both old and new. In describing the emergence of the BRICs, the focus in this article will be on modern and contemporary art, since that is where market development has been most significant, both qualitatively and quantitatively....

Article

Reena Jana

(b Tokyo, Feb 10, 1968).

Vietnamese video artist of Japanese birth, active also in the USA. Nguyen-Hatsushiba was born in Japan to a Japanese mother and a Vietnamese father. He moved to the USA to study at the Art Institute of Chicago and then at the Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore. His work concentrates on the issues of Vietnam’s national identity and history, particularly in the context of the Vietnam War (1955–75). A recurring theme is the experience of Vietnamese refugees, known as ‘boat people’, who were displaced by the war and sought to escape from their native Vietnam after the conflict ceased in hand-made boats.

To evoke Vietnam’s long coastline, as well as South-east Asia’s numerous river basins, Nguyen-Hatsushiba filmed his non-linear narratives underwater. His video productions are accompanied by dynamic soundtracks, often composed by Nguyen-Hatsushiba in conjunction with musicians, such as the Vietnamese pop star Quoc Bao. Nguyen-Hatsushiba is best known for his three-part series, ...

Article

Transculturalism proposes an approach to contemporary Asian art practices that addresses the conditions defining the modern experience of Asian artists living and working outside of their home countries. It is a term derived from the word transculturation, which describes the process of adjustment and re-creation that arises from the convergence of different cultures. The term became popular in the late 1980s and early 1990s, a period defined by major social changes wrought by globalization, increased mobility and ethnic intermingling that affected local community networks in both home and host countries, and also an upsurge in interest paid to contemporary art in and out of Asian countries.

Cuban anthropologist and humanist Fernando Ortiz (1881–1969) developed the concept of transculturalism in the 1940s, when he coined the term transculturation in a pioneering description of Afro-Cuban culture (Contrapunto cubano del tabaco y el azúcar, 1947). Ortiz devised the term to counter the notion of acculturation introduced by the British anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski (...

Article

Britta Erickson

(b Jincheng, Liaoning Province, Nov 17, 1963).

Chinese painter. In 1988 he graduated from the Oil Painting Department of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing. He returned as a graduate student (1995–6) and remained as a professor. Like others who studied oil painting in China in the 1980s, he received a thorough training in realism. For decades leading up to the end of the Cultural Revolution in 1976, the government had promoted Socialist Realism as one of the few artistic styles permissible, and after 1976 realism continued to be the officially sanctioned mode of oil painting. Many young artists rebelled against such constraints and abandoned realism for abstraction or conceptual art. Others such as Liu found ways to adapt their training to a personal style capable of expressing a personal point of view. At the end of the 1980s, Liu was hailed as the central figure in the ‘New Generation’ group of figurative painters....