Susan Chen’s Portraits of Asian Americans and Art News of the Week 17 – 23 August

Installation view, “Susan Chen: On Longing” at Meredith Rosen Gallery. Photo: Adam Reich
Installation view, “Susan Chen: On Longing” at Meredith Rosen Gallery. Photo: Adam Reich

Ai Weiwei released CoroNation on August 21, a documentary that shows the closure that began in January in the Chinese city of Wuhan. Monet’s Impression, Sunrise will be on display at the Shanghai Unique Art Museum from September 17th to January 3rd, 2021. Art Basel will open two online viewing rooms during the coming European autumn. Susan Chen’s Portraits of Asian Americans make their entries in the Meredith Rosen Gallery in New York.

CoroNation, Ai Weiwei’s lockdown documentary about Wuhan

21st August 2020 – Via

Ai Weiwei in Sydney, Australia in 2018. Photo: Don Arnold⁄WireImage via Getty Images.

Ai Weiwei (1957, Beijing) released CoroNation on August 21, a documentary that shows the unprecedented closure that began in January in the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the first patient with symptoms of Covid-19 was identified in December last year. Weiwei is a contemporary Chinese activist and artist who has consistently criticized the Chinese government for its stance on democracy and human rights. According to Weiwei, this work has as its main objective to show “the Chinese machinery of crisis management and social control, through surveillance, ideological brainwashing, and the raw determination to control all aspects of society”.

The documentary is made up of footage shot by people who experienced the Wuhan lockdown in their own flesh. Weiwei has managed to capture how ordinary people’s lives are transformed into a great challenge during these extraordinary times. In this documentary, situations that were once commonplace are portrayed and now altered by another reality, that of the pandemic and the total closure of the city.

A couple who face police and temperature controls to return to Wuhan after visiting their family. City residents who are forbidden to leave and are forced to subsist on basic necessities that are delivered by messengers. A worker involved in emergency construction who is forced to sleep in his car. A man who must fight with the worst of bureaucracies to recover the ashes of his father who died due to the pandemic. These are some of the scenes portrayed in Weiwei’s documentary about how life was disrupted in this city of 11 million people in China during the pandemic. CoroNation is now available on Vimeo on Demand worldwide.

Monet’s Impression, Sunrise to be Exhibited at Shanghai’s Unique Art Museum

August 20, 2020 – Via

Claude Monet, Impression, Sunrise, 1872. Photo: The Hopkins Collection

The French painter Claude Monet (1840 – 1926) was the creator of Impressionism. This artistic trend took its name from the name he gave to one of his most outstanding works, Impression, Sunrise. Monet started working with this style in the 1860s, as his earlier works were in the realist style. Impression, Sunrise’ is a painting by Monet painted in 1872 that belongs to the collection of the Marmottan Monet Museum in Paris. This work will be on display at the Shanghai Unique Art Museum from September 17th to January 3rd, 2021 along with eight other pieces by the Impressionist artist.

In this work, we can appreciate the port of Le Havre in Normandy, where Monet spent his childhood. In the scene are big ships, small boats, and clouds of smoke. Monet managed to present this work for the first time at the First Exhibition of the Société Anonyme des Artistes Painters, Sculptors, and Engravers which took place between April 15 and May 15, 1874, in the rooms of the photographer Nadar. This exhibition was attended by 3,500 visitors and Monet presented in this exhibition nine paintings among which Impression, Sunrise stood out.

In Shanghai, Monet’s work will be accompanied by the engravings of Utagawa Hiroshige and Katsushika Hokusai. Later this work will travel to the Barberini Museum in Potsdam, Germany, a trip that is scheduled for 2023. In the past Impression, Sunrise has been exhibited at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra, and at the Denver Museum of Art’s 2019 presentation of “Claude Monet: The Truth of Nature”.

Art Basel has announced the opening of two online viewing rooms

August 21, 2020 – Via

Art Basel 2019. Photo: Art Basel

Art Basel’ is the largest and most famous international art fair in the world. In the coming European autumn, it will open two online viewing rooms. Each one will last only four days and will have a specific theme. The first initiative, “OVR:2020”, will be online from 23 to 26 September and will present the works produced this year. The second, “OVR:20c”, will be online from October 28-31 and will be limited to works dating from the 20th century.

The 2020 edition of Art Basel has been canceled in connection with the Covid-19. In 2019 it attracted some 93,000 visitors to the successful Art Basel Hong Kong. The number of galleries represented in each room will be 100, and participating galleries will pay 5,000 Swiss francs ($5,500) each for the privilege of exhibiting.

“This new format will give Art Basel galleries the opportunity to present strongly curated exhibitions from their programs, showing six works simultaneously,” the organization said in a statement. Art Basel director Marc Spiegler said: “Although the art market is still facing difficult times, I think it is crucial for us to continue exploring different ways to support the galleries and to engage our audience”.

Susan Chen’s Portraits of Asian Americans

August 21, 2020 – Via

Susan Chen, Nude Self Portrait (2020). Photo: Adam Reich, courtesy Meredith Rosen Gallery

Susan Chen is a first-generation American immigrant who creates portraits of Asian Americans. In doing so, she seeks to better understand the members and psychology of her racial community. In this way, she readjusts her own perspectives to look at both the lens of an ethnic majority in one part of the world and that of a minority in another. Susan often uses the inner-outer juxtaposition as a metaphor to convey issues of seeking belonging and anxieties framed by the digital world.

The spokesperson for the Meredith Rosen Gallery in New York, where Chen’s portraits make their debut, expressed himself in this way about Susan Chen’s work: “Her work is a navigation of identity and belonging. Her practice embodies these themes both internally and externally: the painting process prompts inward reflection while the paintings themselves provide outward representation. Chen paints to answer questions about her own identity and to address the lack of Asian Americans in Western portraiture. When painting Asian Americans, Chen is at once powerful and vulnerable. As an artist, she can grant visibility to her community through her work. As an Asian American, she must confront her own fears and desires in every portrait.”

On her website, she presents herself as “a proud descendent and third-generation daughter of a family of illiterate rice farmers, factory workers, and illegal immigrants turned merchants who originated from rural China and Taiwan provinces. My parent’s immigrated to Hong Kong in the late 1980s; subsequently, I grew up between Hong Kong (a former British colony) and the United Kingdom during the Hong Kong handover. From the age of twelve, I began commuting between a small apartment in Hong Kong and an all-girls British boarding school in England on a bi-yearly basis on scholarship. For college, I moved to the United States to attend Brown University, where I received my B.A. Honors in Visual Arts and a double major B.A. in International Relations (2015).”

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