Featuring young and emerging Los Angeles based artists, Irrational Exhibits #8 (also known as IR8) is the series’ eighth annual one night only performance art show curated by Deborah Oliver. Without a single stage, artists from diverse backgrounds simultaneously engaged and interacted with each other’s performances in Track 16 Gallery’s four-room space. Visitors walked around, stood, and engaged with the performances in such casualness that to some degree, the essence of each individual performance became lost within the dynamism of interaction. Instead of giving each performance the attention it deserved, pieces jumbled and clashed together in a frenzied space (I could probably even call it performance pastiche), so that the exhibit became about collectivity, and not about its individual performances. However, the show’s success was its ability to conjure a tremendous amount of flux and interaction (with the artists, visitors, and space) in such a short span of time. The one night only event successfully showcased performance art’s ephemeral, temporal, and spatial dimensions, where no documentation or writing can ever do it justice.
-Iris Yirei Hu
In response to a rapidly changing China, a group of avant-garde artists settled in Beijing’s East Village in an effort to cultivate self-expression. In particular, the artist Zhang Huan challenged and transcended his physical and mental limits of endurance through body art. His raw and provocative edge has granted him international recognition, but if it were not for Rong Rong, an East Village artist who documented his performances and many other happenings, little would be known about him. Rong Rong recorded many of Zhang Huan’s performances, immortalizing them through his own subjective lens. Rong’s Zhang Huan in Metal Case #1-4 is the only record of Zhang’s performance of Cage, in which Zhang locked himself in an eighty-by-eighty centimeter iron box for twenty-four hours. Through this work, he attempted to challenge the limits of endurance and meditation (Zhang, Chiu, Bu, and Heartney 2007, 62). However, because of the performance’s temporal and kinetic qualities, there was absolutely no way of documenting the whole experience. Instead, Rong’s snapshots of the performance ultimately constructed new interpretations of Zhang’s piece. Though Zhang’s actual performance remains hard to understand due to its ephemeral qualities, Rong’s photographs, however subjective and restrictive they are, allow one to digest the intentions of the work governed by the evidence he provides.
“In Dialogue with Photography and Performance Art”
For the past decade, Italian artist Francesco Vezzoli has been collaborating with celebrities to produce performances and video shorts that investigate the power of media culture. Directed by Roman Polanski, Vezzoli’s Greed, A New Fragrance (2009) is a minute-long fragrance commercial starring Michelle Williams and Natalie Portman. Williams and Portman engage in a cat fight over the perfume, which in actuality, is a faux-fragrance. Making art historical references to Duchamp’s sculpture, Belle Haleine: Eau de Voilette (1921), another fake perfume, Vezzoli creatively explores truth and deception, the corrupt power of advertising, and materialistic obsession. The work has recently been acquired by MOCA.
Marcel Duchamp. Belle Haleine: Eau de Voilette. 1921.
-Iris Yirei Hu
Passionate about non-Western cultures, Alighiero e Boetti transcended non-traditional materials into dialectical exchanges between theoretical and political systems. His most famous body of work, Mappa, is a series of embroidered maps made in collaboration with artisans in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Each country or region is delineated by its national flag. Already 16 years after his death in 1994, the late Italian artist still remains one of the greatest conceptual artists of the 20th century.
-Iris Yirei Hu
Mel Bochner. If the Color Changes. Featured at the 2011 Los Angeles Art Show.
As the Mecca for diversity, culture, and art, Los Angeles’ vibrant art scene is no surprise. The energy is through the roof; completely filled with emerging and world-renowned contemporary artists, art schools, museums and galleries. Don’t forget about the city’s leading collectors and patrons of art too. Whatever it is, L.A. has it all.
“Step Aside Basel, L.A.’s Preparing for the High Profile Art Fair of the New Decade”
The exhibitions Felice Beato: A Photographer on the Eastern Road and Photographs from the New China at the Getty Museum, offer two varying points of view of modern China. Famous for covering the Opium Wars in China during the 1860s, Italian photographer Felice Beato depicts China in the eyes of British imperialists, unveiling blatant European colonialism through his photographs. Next to Beato’s work, Photographs from a New China exhibits a collection of photography from contemporary Chinese artists. But is their standpoint strictly Chinese? Remnants of Western consciousness remain debated through the photographs that cover iconic developments of recent Chinese history from the Cultural Revolution to the rise of capitalism.
“Two Faces of Modern China”
The emblem of culture, modernity, and innovation, design encapsulates society, and prides itself through a number of categories including but not limited to fashion, interior decorating, architecture, food, graphic, and engineering. It has also redefined marketing and advertising in ways we cannot ignore. In short, design reflects our relationship to the space in which we live. It is the byproduct of material culture, constantly in flux with social changes.
“The 2011 Gwangju Design Biennale”