Mathieu Borysevicz

  • Tang Song in his studio, 2021. Photo: Min Cheng.
    passages July 15, 2022

    Tang Song (1960–2022)

    MY FIRST GLIMPSE of Tang Song was through the windshield of a car. He was perched on a rooftop high above the bamboo-covered mountains as I drove up to his lair. With his newly-shaved brown head shining in the sun and his pointed ears cutting the sky behind him, he looked like Lucifer, the fallen angel, peering down over his subjects as they finished their long journey. First impressions go a long way and Tang’s. . .well, his keeps on going. The scene seemed straight out of a James Bond film: a secret, remote headquarters where a mad villain paced the rooftop conspiring to decimate the world.

  • Jack Tilton, in Betty Parson’s Studio, Southold, LI, 1981. Courtesy Tilton Gallery, New York.
    passages June 09, 2017

    Jack Tilton (1951–2017)

    JACK TILTON’S CONTRIBUTIONS TO MY OWN LITTLE REALM, to the contemporary art of China, and to the rest of the world were quite profound. Jack was one of the New York gallerists who became keen on developments in China before anybody else did. His foresight there was just a small part of his astonishing ability to find artists who had yet to find wider renown. Marlene Dumas, David Hammons, Mark Bradford, Joep van Lieshout, Patty Chang, Fred Tomaselli, Francis Alÿs, and many other heavyweights showed with Jack long before they were famous.

    I worked with Jack for six months in 1998. His gallery was

  • Zhou Xiaohu

    In October 2008, Sudanese rebels kidnapped nine Chinese oil workers in southern Sudan, in response to what they saw as China’s indiscriminate support of the country’s government. Ten days afterward, according to news reports, four of these workers were killed during an escape attempt; another three were rescued; and one fled successfully. Almost exactly one year later, while the People’s Republic of China celebrated its sixtieth anniversary with a spectacular, made-for-television display of its military bravado, the last kidnapped worker still remains unaccounted for. Zhou Xiaohu, employing a

  • Dai Qing

    Shopping Gallery is situated in Shanghai’s famous M50 art district; it is run by a consortium of the city’s more successful artists, including Xu Zhen, Shi Yong, and Liu Jianhua, to promote reasonably priced works by emerging artists. The gallery’s commercial bent is not only made explicit by its English and Chinese moniker (a pun on the name of China’s economic reform guru, Deng Xiaoping), but in its programming, which since its inception in 2008 has been dominated by painting. This recent exhibition by Dai Qing was no exception: Painting once again reigned supreme. However, instead of offering

  • Meng Yangyang, Sitting Girl, 2008, oil on canvas, 71 x 79".
    picks June 30, 2009

    “Portrait of the Youth”

    “Portrait of the Youth” presents four young and steadily emerging Asian artists whose diversified approaches to portraiture converge in one captivating show. Using varied media and methods, this quartet explore the portrait, not only as a traditional form of representation or indicator of the artist’s own sentiments and beliefs but also as a portrayal of generational angst. In many works, anonymous sitters are not subjects so much as sites for the artist’s collation of concepts, psyche, and technique.

    In Taiwanese artist Tseng Yu-Chin’s ambient video installation, nine channels of manipulated

  • Left: Gunnar B. Kvaran, director of the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Yoko Ono, and Biljana Ciric, curator of the Ke Center for the Contemporary Arts. Right: The crowd outside the museum. (All photos: Mathieu Borysevicz)
    diary November 26, 2008

    Fly by Night


    IN RECENT MONTHS, beginning with the ShContemporary fair and the Shanghai Biennial in September, a veritable swarm of international art cognoscenti has passed through the city. In October, the eArts Festival brought Christian Marclay and musician Elliott Sharp to Shanghai, while the opening of ShanghArt gallery’s “Involved” drew the likes of Luc Tuymans and Knut Åsdam. Just last week, James Cohan’s Shanghai outpost presented its third exhibition, giving the space over to Folkert de Jong’s jolly, Styrofoam-sculpted simians. But perhaps no one was more anticipated than Yoko Ono, whose first solo

  • Left: Artist Zhao Bandi with collector Paul Tai. Right: Artist Zhou Tiehai. (Except where noted, all photos: Mathieu Borysevicz)
    diary January 19, 2008

    Bandi Camp


    “That was the first time I sat next to people who were actually interesting at an event like this,” a Shanghai fashion agent quipped as he exited ShanghART Night, Zhao Bandi’s Panda Couture fashion extravaganza staged on a two-hour cruise up and down the neon-splashed Huangpu River on Tuesday night. “I think it was all a little over the top” a jaded socialite muttered as she swished coffee around her champagne glass. As the yacht docked, the evening’s VIPs filed slowly off into the freezing night.

    The event witnessed the most recent conceptual provocation in Zhao’s long career of mainstream

  • Mathieu Borysevicz

    MOGANSHAN, where I am writing this piece, is a mountain resort four hours’ drive from Shanghai, where Westerners and wealthy Chinese capitalists built stone villas in the 1920s to escape the summer heat. Somewhat ironically, these bamboo-covered mountains share their name with a complex of formerly industrial buildings in Shanghai that now constitutes the city’s premier gallery district: 50 Moganshan Road, colloquially known as M50. Both this group of galleries and the mansions dotting this landscape are revealing of the combination of influences from East and West that has defined Shanghai for

  • Liu Jianhua

    The Shanghai Gallery of Art sits inside an elegant neo-Renaissance structure along the city’s historic bund. Erected in 1916, during the heyday of capitalist expansion in East Asia, the building was formerly a home for international banks. Today, as Shanghai finds itself in the midst of a sequel to its early twentieth-century gilded age, the building seems to embody the city’s newfound extravagance. Renovated in 2002 by Michael Graves, Three-on-the-Bund is home to not only the gallery but luxury stores such as Armani and Hugo Boss and the restaurant Jean-Georges. It is thus undeniably a fitting

  • Left: Artist Wang Qingsong, a friend, and Guy Ullens, cofounder of the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art. Right: UCCA cofounder Myriam Ullens. (All photos: Mathieu Borysevicz)
    diary November 07, 2007

    Back to the Future


    Late last Friday morning at At Café, the place to be in Beijing’s 798 art complex, someone murmured,“I hear that Tony Blair is supposed to come.” Certainly, the Chinese art buzz has spread far and wide, but this was a fascinating possibility indeed. At the next table, Hammer Museum curator James Elaine was struggling to make use of years of Chinese lessons in conversation with photographer Liu Zheng. He eventually leaned over and confessed that he’d received a grant from the Asian Cultural Council and will soon be moving to China for a year. But as one old China hand warned later in the weekend,

  • Guo Hongwei, Autumn Tour, 2007, mixed media, dimensions variable.
    picks October 17, 2007

    “Refresh: Emerging Chinese Artists”

    In the art world’s unrelenting pursuit of the continually new, “Refresh: Emerging Chinese Artists,” a group exhibition at ZenDai MoMA, waves its youthful hand for attention. This show of thirty-six artists, most born during the 1980s, presents an eclectic range of media and mall-rat sensibilities in a museum situated, oddly enough, in a mall. These artists are of China’s first generation to experience an entirely economic-reform-era life, complete with its material privileges and freedoms unimaginable to previous generations. Consequently, much of the work displays concerns less akin to their