At the March First Thursday Art Walk in Pioneer Square, I discovered Seattle artist Weng Chen of Studio Wonn, who is originally from China. I really like her visual aesthetic, and her work is quite inexpensive.
Her work at her studio during First Thursday was primarily Giclée prints and watercolors. On display at her studio is an explanation of her Giclée creation process, which always starts with hand-drawing on paper.
Correction: Picasso in Seattle did not contain Musée Picasso’s complete works, only 150 of them.
I recently caught the tail end of “Picasso in Seattle”, a documentary by local PBS station KCTS 9. Before watching, I assumed that the exhibition was like the Pacific Science Center‘s Harry Potter: The Exhibition in that it was worth paying more than usual to go see but not unique to Seattle. I was wrong. Seattle is the first American city to show the Musée Picasso‘s complete works, which are travelling the world while the gallery undergoes renovations.
It seems that most of the documentary is a general biography of Picasso focusing on how his life, especially love life, influenced his art. However, the most fascinating part to me is on why Musée Picasso chose the Seattle Art Museum over other hosts, quoting the Musée Picasso’s director that she chose Seattle because it has a “new brand” as a city. It just so happens that KCTS 9 uses this segment as the documentary preview video on their site:
One of the most exciting aspects of watching this documentary is the obvious public relations participation by the Seattle Art Museum required to make the documentary’s production happen. I’ve admired the museum’s public relations efforts ever since its reopening and simultaneous re-branding driven by Pyramid Communications.
I recently saw “Aftershock (唐山大地震)” at Seattle’s Uptown Theater on Queen Anne, thanks to reading about it in MusicDish*China. The film is China’s highest grossing domestic movie of all time, the first commercial entertainment film made outside the United States for IMAX, and apparently the 83rd Academy Awards’ Chinese nomination for Best Foreign Language Film.
“Aftershock” deserves its popularity and critical acclaim for several reasons, including its special effects, acting, dramatic narrative, and tastefully placed humor. One of the film’s most controversial aspects is, predictibly, that it takes the Chinese federal government propaganda standpoint on depicting the poorly handled tragedy and resulting history. I have very little problem with this, though, as it enabled the film’s expensive budget and wide distribution. Jeremiah Jenne’s post “Aftershock and the legacy of the 1976 Tangshan Earthquake” on Granite Studio sums up my opinions of the movie pretty well.
As a Millennial who recently lived in China as a foreign national, one of the aspects of the film that touched me most was its realistic depiction of huge differences in priorities and lifestyles among Chinese generations since 1976 due to rapid political and economic changes tied to urbanization.
Take, for example, my friend my age who I spent Chinese New Year with this past year. His father’s parents are farmers in a village with basically no running water and electricity. They speak only the local language, so I had a very hard time communicating with them. My friend’s father is a wealthy, college-educated entrepreneur in the closest major city Kunming where he and his wife live an extravagant lifestyle and speak the same local language plus Mandarin. My friend spent four years in Australia, teaches English in Beijing where he buys real Apple products and Ray Ban sunglasses, and struggles to hide his homosexuality from his family even though he is out to most of his Beijing friends. “Aftershock” contains similarly wide generational differences within the family at the center of the story.
Have you seen “Aftershock”? What aspects of it did you like and dislike the most? I look forward to your comments.
Back in February, I saw an exhibition at one of my favorite art organizations ever, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA), that was not only aesthetically enjoyable but combined all three topics of this blog — art, public relations, and China — along with the additional theme of soccer (football). In connection with South Africa’s hosting the FIFA World Cup, PUMA commissioned artist Kehinde Wiley to paint portraits of soccer stars from throughout Africa. PUMA then made a short, promotional documentary about the paintings as well as soccer in Africa and heavily publicized the whole project both online and through an exhibition that traveled the world. Apparently PUMA also uses Kehinde Wiley’s art in their product design.
View more paintings and the video at the http://africa.puma.com section on Kehinde Wiley here.
This seems like a sponsorship partnership made in heaven for Wiley, UCCA, PUMA, and possibly also the players who are the painting subjects. Wiley got his work not only commissioned but heavily publicized and exhibited worldwide. Players got to be the subjects of paintings and a documentary viewed by people all over the world. UCCA got a free or cheaper-than-usual already curated exhibition, and PUMA gets to look like they care about art and Africa to visitors of high profile art institutions.
What made this project stand out to me when I was viewing it is that it seems like worldwide, especially in China, most people who love art are not so into sports and vice versa. This could be because both activities are pretty time intensive, either as a participant or follower. I think it’s smart of PUMA as a sports brand to reach out to art lovers. It may not be the first time a sports brand has done so, but it’s the first time I’ve personally witnessed it.
The past couple of weeks have revealed two controversies involving respected artists’ personal behavior: Kanye West drunkenly destroyed Taylor Swift’s Video Music Award acceptance speech, and Swedish authorities arrested Roman Polanski on a 31-year-old warrant for statutory rape.
The Third Annual New Beijing International Movie Week is actually three weeks long this year and continues through March 21, 2009. It features independent films, both long and short, from around the world, most of which premiered in 2008, in various popular venues around the city, such as nightclubs. All movies have subtitles in Chinese, English or both, depending on the language of the film. I’ve had the pleasure of going to the festival on two nights so far. Many of the films are so new and unknown that it’s hard to find information about them online.
A couple Chinese artworks I saw on display at the Seattle Art Museum during the summer of 2007 struck me so much that not only did I recognize them when I read about them online here, I remember exactly where they are in the Seattle Art Museum and my reactions to them upon my first view.
Remember those firework footprints in the
Zhuanghuan is one of the most brilliant yet depressing artists I know, likely owing to when he grew up in
It’s exciting to see so much attention directed at Mumbai. India has the second largest population and film industry in the world, yet many Americans know little about it. For example, who in the U.S. studies any of the languages spoken in India, which combined have more speakers worldwide than Spanish?
This past Sunday, I finally made it to the exhibition “Christian Dior and Chinese Artists” at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing’s 798. I had heard it was great but was skeptical. Was this exhibition going to be one big, classless advertisement for Dior? Fashion has an obvious connection to art made public by many museums, so how was this unique?