Philip Tinari

  • Left: Guggenheim Asia strategist Min Jung Kim, Guggenheim chief Thomas Krens, and NAMOC director Fan Di'an. Right: Art historian Wanda Korn and Terra Foundation president Elizabeth Glassman. (All photos: Philip Tinari)
    diary February 14, 2007

    Exchange Rate

    Beijing

    A surge in Chinese confidence and the daily drop of the dollar against the yuan were the deep background for last weekend’s opening of “Art in America: 300 Years of Innovation,” a show generated in the high times of the Clinton era as a sort of kickback for the selection of loans that made up the Guggenheim’s 1998 exhibition “China: 5,000 Years.” At every turn, one was reminded of the absurdity of such goodwill cultural diplomacy, given that America’s reputation is so thoroughly tarnished and China's so doggedly ascendant. And yet China is still good, for the moment, at having it both ways: The

  • Philip Tinari

    OVER THE COURSE OF A FEW DAYS LAST APRIL, a group of artists in Beijing shot Chinese Crackers, a ten-minute film based on Ed Ruscha’s Crackers (1969)—a book in which the artist’s photographs illustrate a short story by Mason Williams, “How to Derive the Maximum Enjoyment from Crackers.” (In this instruction manual–style text, the reader is told to seduce a woman and, after taking her to a “skid-row flophouse,” convince her to lie down on a bed laden with salad, pour dressing over her, and then leave in a chauffeured car for a “suite of rooms in the finest hotel in town” to enjoy a box of

  • Shen Fan, Landscape: A Tribute to Huang Binhong, 2006. Installation view, Shanghai Art Museum.

    the 6th Shanghai Biennale

    SINCE ITS EVOLUTION in 2000 from a local museum show to a self-consciously international exposition, the Shanghai Biennale has functioned as an index of the contemporary art scene in China and the institutional system that has come to undergird it. That year marked the third biennial, the first with any foreign content, as Matthew Barney appeared alongside a slew of local ink painters to demonstrate Shanghai’s, and China’s, emergence onto the world stage. It is no secret that most of the international biennials and triennials founded in the 1990s flurry are ridden with chamber-of-commerce