Niubi kids and American art: Top ten shows in Hong Kong September 2008, part 2 – Saatchi Online

EXHIBITIONS HONG KONG

Top ten shows in Hong Kong this September, part 2, published in Saatchi Online Magazine and written by Art Radar‘s editor, Kate Cary Evans.

 

 

Lee Waisler: Portraits and Abstractions
11 September to 11 October
Sundaram Tagore Gallery

Sundaram Tagore’s first solo show in its new gallery in Hong Kong features the eminent American artist Lee Waisler whose works are in permanent collections of prestigious institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Victoria and Albert Museum. Lee Waisler presents two series of works: portraits of iconic figures and abstracts, both in a trademark style in which he loads the canvas with layers of paints and organic materials to create thick sweeps of pigment separated by knife-sharp ridges. His portrait series includes the stylized over-bold faces of, amongst others, Marilyn Monroe, Mahatma Gandhi, Kafka and Albert Einstein. Their textured planes draw our hands to hover over the surface, curious, wanting to touch but not quite daring: a potent echo of the real life lure of iconic idols and our visceral compulsion to draw near, look closely and touch. For this show Waisler has created an interesting new body of work incorporating Chinese culture and imagery including a portrait of Anna May Wong, a famous Chinese-American actress of the 1930s and 1940s and Doctor Ho, a renowned healer from China.

 

 

Larry Yung: Desire – Loss

Amelia Johnson Contemporary
4 September to 27 September 2008

In the works of this much anticipated show two years in the making, Chinese American artist Larry Yung places idealized images of American and Chinese people alongside material objects of desire and cultural icons such as Mickey Mouse. Smiling characters are painted with a flatness reminiscent of the iconography of Chinese propaganda posters and 1950’s US advertisements of the American Dream. This juxtaposition invites us to examine the complex relationship between the demise of the American Dream and the rise of Chinese aspirations. His stiff stylized figures appear artificial and remind us material prosperity is impermanent and illusory: part of a fleeting cycle of lack, desire, success and loss. His work has been commissioned by Proctor & Gamble, Pierre Cardin and Nordstroms and is held in various private collections including those of Marvel Comics, Esquire Magazine and Microsoft.

 

 

Niubi Newbie Kids
Mixed media group exhibition: Chen Fei, Chen Ke, Zhou Jin Hua, Zhang Ye Xing, Zhou Yi Qian, Feng Wei
19 September to 13 October 2008
Schoeni Gallery

Schoeni was pivotal in the nineties in promoting the art of then unknown Chinese political pop artists such as Yue Min Jun, Zeng Fan Zhi and Zhang Xiaogang, many of whom have since gone on to achieve iconic status and high auction prices. This September the gallery is showing the next generation of 80s born unknowns, the rebellious Niubi Kids. Untranslatable and a play on Chinese slang curse words, the word ‘Niubi’ is used by young people to identify the new wave of rebellious cool young Chinese. Also termed China’s ‘Me’ generation, a product of China’s One Child policy, they are less concerned with politics than with themselves, issues of identity and alternative worlds. This provoking not-to-be missed show of mixed media works, replete with influences from the internet, comics, video games and Japanese culture, is the result of two years work by the gallery and is the first in a biannual series.

KCE

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