*This is the first of two writings exploring a recent excursion to New York City. Connections lured me to the megacity and the art delivered. New experiences became new memories. The East Coast aesthetic dominates its territory.
Recently made the trip to New York City to visit Chinese curator Janet Fong. We first met during travels to Beijing for an art exhibit. Ms. Fong is the art world future not only as an intellectual powerhouse but breaking barriers for women. Fong’s example navigated my NYC art experience.
First stop was Ms. Fong’s exhibit at Klein Sun Gallery. From the Closer to the Beautiful World curatorial statement: “Art can provide a vehicle for enhancing the mind, and possibly even the personality, but it is not a shortcut to the top of Maslow’s pyramid. For both creators and viewers, art can be a valuable process of focusing on the pursuit of the beautiful. Closer to the Beautiful World is the process of pursuing different levels of artistic achievement connected with peak experiences. It is due to the diversity of these personal experiences that the worlds created by the five artists in the show – Chen Xi, Hu Yinping, Wang Jiajia, Yang Xinjia, Zhang Zhaoying – might prompt viewers to think about the artists’ moments of highest fulfillment in different ways…”
Closer to a beautiful world includes equal opportunities for female artists. New York City is a financial powerhouse with numerous galleries and auction houses. Artworks can be products of commodification, dominated by male artists, and married to oil paint. According to VENUS ART, the top auction sales in 2016 included Francis Bacon, Cy Twombly, CUI Ruzhuo, Edvard Munch, Amedeo Modigliani, John-Michel Bassquiat, Peter Paul Reubens, Pablo Picasso, and Claude Monet. How can institutional bias be broken to support all communities?
Traversing the Chelsea galleries from West 19th Street to West 28th Street, the concept of “equality” navigated my schedule. David Zwirner Gallery featured the impeccable Ruth Asawa with carefully displayed floating wire sculptures. The California legend’s estate was on display and busy with visitors. Another legend included Barbara Chase-Riboud’s Malcom X: Complete at the Michael Rosenfeld Gallery. The sculptures were a powerful homage as an artist’s diary on humanity.
Meanwhile, Diana Al Hadid artworks’ at Marianne Boesky Gallery are mixed media markers in a neat and organized post-apocalyptic world. Born in Alepo, Syria, Al Hadid’s unapologetic works investigate and expose history. At the Sikkema Jenkins & Co gallery, Kara Walker delivered truth to the masses. From Walker’s artist statement: “…Tired, true, of being a featured member of my racial group and/or my gender niche. It’s too much, and I write this knowing full well that my right, my capacity to live in this Godforsaken country as a (proudly) raced and (urgently) gendered person is under threat by random groups of white (male) supremacist goons who flaunt a kind of patched together notion of race purity with flags and torches and impressive displays of perpetrator-as-victim sociopathy…”
As a board member on the International Art Exchange and Residency, I will be collaborating with curator Janet Fong. My goal will be to ensure that artists are diverse in medium, experience, and background. Opportunities must include living artists outside of an exploitative colonialized structure.
I’m working on it, how about you?