*This is the first of three writings exploring a trip to Beijing and how culture defines humanity. Community transcends a new political reality and rejects negative discourse. Connections remain strong thanks to the power of art…
It was Air Canada onwards to Beijing. A first flight to Vancouver then a second travelling across a big ocean and Russia. The purpose of the trip was an exhibit at the US Ambassador’s residence with former Senator Max Baucus. With President Elect Trump’s plan to nominate Iowa Governor Terry Branstad as the new Chinese Ambassador, didn’t want to miss the opportunity.
What will be 2017’s new reality?
Beijing welcomed with a heavy haze, dense population, compacted amongst vast and bright urban landscapes. The goal was to explore contemporary art galleries and museums. How has Western perspective influenced and infiltrated Chinese art along with culture? It’s a challenge to reconcile bias and one’s worldview. Hopefully experience and time cold help answer.
Before installing at the Ambassador’s residence, a visit to Beijing’s top galleries was in order. The tour guide was the impeccable and talented Janet Fong who has curated Botero in China: The Art of Fernando Botero (National Museum of China, China Art Museum, Beijing and Shanghai, China, 2015- 2016 CAFAM Future Biennial Artist Residency Project and Next Ten Years of Contemporary Art in China to name just a few. She provided insights and a unique perspective of the Chinese contemporary art world.
Highlights included the MEAT exhibit at the Faurschou Foundation by German artists sculptor Christian Lemmerz and painter Norbert Tadeusz. From the gallery: “The depiction of meat has a long art historical tradition. Throughout art history, meat has played a major role in the works of some of the world’s greatest artists: for example, Rembrandt, Chaim Soutine and Francis Bacon, to name but a few. Christian Lemmerz and Norbert Tadeusz are no exception. With this exhibition they are taking a place in an important tradition in the history of art.”
Arriving at the Ambassador residence for the exhibit installation, we were greeted by guards and security. Made a new friend once inside. It was the Ambassador’s rescue dog that immediately rolled over for belly rubs. All stress melted away and the stage was set.
The next night would be the opening…