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Tales of Two Cities: New York & Beijing

May 3, 2014 – August 31, 2014

This blog accompanies the exhibition Tales of Two Cities: New York & Beijing, on view from May 3, 2014, through August 31, 2014.

The Bruce Museum exhibition focuses on two of the world’s leading centers of art — New York and Beijing — and offers a visual pairing of five New York-based artists with five Beijing-based artists. The ten artists have been engaged in five different global, cross-cultural, artistic dialogues over the course of two years via email, Skype, in person, sometimes with translators, about issues ranging from political and social upheaval, the concept of global culture, and questions about materials and techniques. Some of the artists are creating new works for the exhibition including two site-specific works being created at the Museum, others are represented by existing or historic works.

The concept for this show grew out of an earlier collaboration curated by Pan Qing at Columbia University’s Studio X in Beijing in 2010 between New York-based artist Michelle Fornabai and Beijing-based artist Qin Feng, both of whom are featured in the present show.

“Watching Michelle Fornabai and Qin Feng communicate silently through the brush helped to open my mind to the myriad possibilities of visual dialogues between artists from very different artistic backgrounds,” Qing explains. “After discussing this idea with the other curators and advisors of this exhibition — Michelle Y. Loh, John Rajchman and Sarah McNaughton — a decision was made to expand on this theme by seeking out more opportunities to pair artists from disparate cultures.”

The curators matched the pairs based partly on the kind of work that they do and their artistic processes, but more importantly on the type of dialogue in which they suspected the artists might engage within the context of their respective urban environments. Many of the ten artists are themselves peripatetic, on the move between global art centers, not only New York and Beijing, but also in Latin America and Europe.

Paired artists include:

  • Michelle Fornabai(NYC) and Qin Feng (Beijing)
  • Joan Snyder (NYC) and Wei Jia (Beijing)
  • Alois Kronschlaeger (NYC) and Lin Yan (Beijing)
  • Jorge Tacla (NYC) and Li Taihuan (Beijing)
  • Simon Lee (NYC) and Chen Shaoxiong (Beijing)
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