Lee Ambrozy

  • Xu Bing

    Although Xu Bing’s conceptualism has succeeded in brewing controversy domestically and abroad (recall the removal of his A Case Study of Transference, 1994, from “Art and China After 1989” at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York last year), he stands out among contemporary artists as a respected educator and pedagogue within the Chinese academy. This exhibition will present a career-spanning selection of Xu’s art, from his breakout 1989 woodblock-print installation, Book from the Sky, to his 2017 feature-length film Dragonfly Eyes, to brand-new works.

  • Yang Jiechang

    The show “Earth Roots” proved the continued power of the monochromatic density and crusty strata of black ink as a metaphorical primordial stew that continues to nourish experimental art in China. Here, forty-six instantiations, of Yang Jiechang’s famed series,“One Hundred Layers of Ink,” 1989–99, were featured alongside a selection of the artist’s works from the previous decade. The exhibition’s narrative pivoted on the 1989 Centre Pompidou exhibition “Magiciens de la terre” (Magicians of the World), in which Yang participated as one of three artists from China. The curators noted that Yang,

  • 11th Shanghai Biennale: “Why Not Ask Again? Maneuvers, Disputations & Stories”

    New Delhi–based trio Raqs Media Collective bring a refreshing geographic perspective to the Shanghai Biennale, assembling an exhibition that takes the underexamined cultural nexus of India and China (and, more broadly, South and East Asia) as its promising point of departure. Yet the show is no mere regional survey. Inspired by both Chinese speculative fiction and Jukti Takko Aar Gappo (Reason, Debate, and a Story), a pioneering 1974 work of Indian New Cinema by director Ritwik Ghatak, “Why Not Ask Again? Maneuvers, Disputations

  • Liang Yuanwei

    At first, it is difficult to see what is different about Liang Yuanwei’s new oil paintings. In the series titled “Oval,” 2014–15, the artist employs her signature method, meticulously interpreting patterns lifted from found textiles. Liang doesn’t produce preliminary sketches or drafts; rather, she allows the design to materialize in the accumulation of palpable, impressionistic brushstrokes. But unlike her previous fabric-inspired paintings, these sixteen canvases can be read as a single, multifaceted work.

    Titled in sequence from Oval 1 to Oval 16, the works evince eight months of the artist’s

  • picks March 20, 2015

    “Transcending Tibet”

    Tibetan art is now meta-ethnic. In this exhibition, the Shangri-la imaginary collides with realities particular to the global Tibetan cultural diaspora. The redefinition proposed here delivers a broad range of formal possibilities and artistic strategies. Most involve some degree of secularizing the Buddhist themes that defined art––thangka painting––for centuries.

    The inclusion of Western artists working in Tibetan idioms dramatically expands the discourse. Livia Liverani trained in Ladakh with an experienced painter of the sacred arts; she recreates traditional compositions in a pastiche of

  • performance August 29, 2014

    Falling Down

    ONE WEEK before his performance last month at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, I sought out Hu Xiangqian in his Upper East Side studio apartment. Amid dozens of ceiling-high houseplants, in front of a full-length mirror, stood a music-stand, to which were taped copious handwritten scripts. Hu was silent about the details of his upcoming performance, but screened for me instead a video of his most recent work, Speech At The Edge Of The World, made for inclusion in this year’s Gwangju Biennial. The two works share a protagonist, and the format of a public speech.

    In his video, Hu plays the

  • interviews May 27, 2014

    Heman Chong

    Singapore-based artist Heman Chong makes work that often dissolves boundaries between literature, performing arts, and graphic design. Moderation(s), his latest project, is a two-year experimental platform that involves collaborative institutional programming between artists, curators, and writers. It is being held at the Spring Workshop in Hong Kong and the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam, and it concludes this month at the latter venue with “The Part in the Story Where a Part Becomes a Part of Something Else,” a group show on view from May 22 to August 17, 2014.

    MODERATIONS(S)

  • Xu Zhen: A Madein Company Production

    In 2009, Shanghai-based artist Xu Zhen founded MadeIn Company, trading his singular identity for a corporate brand. Now, for this sprawling survey, the bellicose prankster turns his given name into the moniker of a MadeIn subsidiary, staging recent installations and paintings by the company-cum-collective alongside earlier works from the artist-as-individual. Among the items on view: the disturbing Starving of Sudan, 2008—featuring an animatronic vulture monitoring a live child—and 8848-1.86, 2005, in which the artist, claiming to have shaved 1.86

  • diary December 18, 2013

    Ink Tank

    ONE MET. MANY WORLDS. The Met’s slogan is emblazoned across Fifth Avenue over banners that cover its facade and the now under-construction Koch Plaza. The phrase heralds the museum’s globalist vision, but in Chinese characters it reads slightly different, roughly translating to: Visit the Met. See Multiculturalism. Last week, invoking the grand narrative of “Chinese tradition,” the arbiters of the world’s cultural heritage launched a provocative foray—the Met’s first major exhibition dedicated to contemporary Chinese works—with “Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China.”

    The title itself

  • Yu Youhan

    Yu Youhan is best known for his contributions to the 1990s painting movement known as “Political Pop,” but these works remain only one facet in the remarkably productive career of the now seventy-year-old painter. This exhibition put his influence in the ’90s in perspective by displaying a broad selection of Yu’s canvases dating from 1973 through 2012. In view of Yu’s more recent experiments with abstraction, his Political Pop style appears to be merely one stage in a developing mode of expression, one that repeatedly addresses the complex intertwining of political and artistic influence.

    Yu’s

  • Lin Tianmiao

    Lin Tianmiao’s works, gathered here in her first retrospective, flesh out her evolving relationship with organic fibers while revealing that the sophisticated and collective processes by which she produces her sculptures and installations has remained a relative constant. Curated by Melissa Chiu, the exhibition of fifteen pieces begins with the China-based artist’s earliest major pieces from the mid-1990s, which feature cotton threads inspired by memories of her childhood, and concludes with newer works in silks connoting luxury and wealth. Her practice revels in the various textures these

  • “Summoning Ghosts: The Art Of Hung Liu”

    Hung Liu’s debut retrospective of more than eighty works will juxtapose her socialist-realist sketches from the 1970s, made while the artist was still living in China and at the height of the Cultural Revolution, with paintings realized since her immigration to the United States in 1984. Liu has an affinity for portraits—her luminous canvases drip with the likenesses of children, laborers, and the elderly, many depicted in timeless, ambiguous environments—and while her symbolism and pictorial narratives convey painterly reflections on a haunted past, her works

  • diary October 18, 2012

    Missing in Action

    THE UNSPOKEN RULE of social engagements in Beijing dictates that the most important guests on the list are those who are invited but who cannot come, because another, more important engagement keeps them away. At the recent opening of Ai Weiwei’s first US museum retrospective at the Hirshhorn, alas, the artist proved his importance by not being in attendance. Still stripped of his passport and unable to leave China, upcoming events across the East Coast were canceled, including a talk in defense of free speech at the PEN World Voices Festival and scheduled panels at Harvard’s Fairbank Center

  • picks August 03, 2012

    Hu Xiangqian

    At the core of Hu Xiangqian’s practice are his hypnotic performances, which reflect a vibrant sense of immediacy and humor. This is epitomized by his best-known work, Sun, 2008, a video of a two-month process during which the artist—nude and sporting cornrows—tanned himself to the darkest skin color he could attain. In this solo exhibition, three new works expand his breadth of narrative and visual complexity, notably adding a supporting cast.

    In The labor song I night, 2012, the artist performs a cappella with three hired actors, all clad in imitations of Prince William’s matrimonial Irish Guard

  • picks June 04, 2012

    Jiang Zhi

    Although based in Beijing, Jiang Zhi trained at the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou and is associated with a generation of video artists (including Yang Fudong) who attended the school during the 1990s. In this midcareer retrospective, the notion of the artist’s ego as primary creative force is challenged through imaginative curatorial strategies. The exhibition consists of two smaller shows curated by the artist––a solo show of paintings by a childhood friend and a suite of photographs downloaded from the Internet––as well as a solo exhibition of works by Jiang and a minimuseum homage to the

  • Sui Jianguo

    Sui Jianguo’s oeuvre illustrates a common dilemma for artists of his generation, a kind of dissociative identity disorder (aka multiple personality disorder) in both theory and practice. Although not billed as a retrospective, this was a significant exhibition for Sui, who was born in 1956, succinctly presenting twenty-five years of artistic production and thereby opening a new vista on the contradictions and tensions in his work.

    The exhibition was filled with hints at a classical heroism, for instance in copies of Michelangelo’s Dying Slave and Bound Slave next to Sui’s reinterpretations, which

  • diary May 22, 2012

    Days of Being Wild

    COMING FROM the Shenzhen Sculpture Biennale, just thirty minutes across the border, I crossed the gold ingot–shaped Victoria Harbor into Hong Kong Central, where all those luxury brands unaffordable in Beijing are suddenly in arm’s reach. Central is the only place I know where Bulgari, Gucci, and Chanel are not ostentatious but de rigueur. It’s an affluence mentality, but until recently prices for basic items were so high that residents would cross the northern border to buy household goods. Today, food safety issues, inflation, and luxury taxes have reversed the flow of commercial traffic, and

  • “Little Movements”

    “Little Movements: Self-Practice in Contemporary Art” is an ongoing project initiated by curator and critic Carol Yinghua Lu and her husband, curator and artist Liu Ding. Because the endeavor encompasses so many ideas simultaneously and has appeared in many incarnations, ranging from artworks to publications to exhibitions, its concept is perhaps best approached in terms of what it is not. The “Little Movements” of the title are not political movements, nor are they mini art movements. The practices referred to are not linked by a common ideology, and the curators don’t attempt to draw parallels

  • Lee Ambrozy

    1 “My Communism: Poster Exhibition” (TOP Contemporary Art Center, Shanghai; curated by Yang Zhenzhong, Zhou Xiaohu, Xu Zhen, Jin Feng, Lu Xinghua, Ding Li, Shi Qing, and Philippe Pirotte) The title of this show was left out of press releases, lest it raise eyebrows, but the articulation of “My Communism” was clear in the 128 posters, by some fifty artists, that filled the repurposed factory and enormous white gallery of TOP in suburban Shanghai. Created by Chinese and international participants alike, the designs speak to experiences of living under socialism and engage in a range of social

  • picks July 20, 2011

    Zhao Yao

    In “I Am Your Night,” Zhao Yao’s latest exhibition, a series of childishly bright and geometric paintings ironically titled “A Painting of Thought” (all works 2011) mock the profundity of a rising undercurrent of young canvas-favoring Conceptual artists who work in Beijing today. Indeed, many of these artists have shown at the same gallery that Zhao now fills with dripping wire and spiked wood constructions, televisions that come alive at the sound of a tongue clicking, and his so-called “thoughtful” paintings, copied directly from optical teasers and perception puzzles onto tartan cloth. His