Monday, November 29, 2010

My Theatrical Paintings on Video

My musing on paintings as pivotal elements in literature and theatrical works, made me thinking about using painting to present theatrical works, which has always been popular with artists, from Watteau to Picasso. I have made several such paintings myself and recently I also made a video presentation of these works:

The paintings on the video are:
- Limelight
- Pas de deux
- Wer tanzt
- Ballerina
- Blue Dancer
- Leap

>> Video presentations of paintings and drawings, Part XV: Monochromatic Drama
<< Video presentations of paintings and drawings, Part XIII: Video Presentation of Still Life Paintings

List of Video Presentation of My Artworks

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Paintings As Pivotal Elements

I just finished reading novel Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner as my book group's assignment.  This book had one passage centered on four main charactors' reactions to Piero della Francesca's Resurrection in Arrezzo.  Stegner wrote "that gloomy, stricken face permitted no forgetful high spirits.  It was not the face of a god reclaiming his suspended immortality, but the face of a man who until a moment ago had been thoroughly and horribly dead, and still had the smell of the death in his clothes and the terror of death in his mind.  If resurrection had taken place, it had not yet been comprehended."  It was not only a precise description of the masterpiece, but it also illuminated the characters of the novel through their reactions to this lingering horror.  It was a pivotal moment in the novel for readers to understand the characters fully.

Another book using a well-known painting or drawing as pivotal element is Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code, which I have not read.  According to Wikipedia, "it follows symbologist Robert Langdon and Sophie Neveu as they investigate a murder in Paris's Louvre Museum.  The title of the novel refers to the fact that the murder victim is found in the Grand Gallery of the Louvre, naked and posed like Leonardo da Vinci's famous drawing, the Vitruvian Man, with a cryptic message written beside his body and a pentacle drawn on his stomach in his own blood."  Perhaps less profound but it sure is intriguing.

Two more examples I can give are operas, Die Zauberflöte by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Simon Boccanegra by Giuseppe Verdi.  The former was a traditional fairy tale, or a modernistic battle of sexes, depending on one's point of view.  It started with the mother of an imprisoned princess giving the princess's portrait to a prince, who fell in love with the princess immediately as required and set out to rescue the princess.

Simone Boccanegra was a humanistic tale, with focus on father-daughter relationship.  It would be very helpful to know that Verdi lost his daughter when she was very young.  In the opera, Simon, a corsair, later Doge of Genoa, lost his daughter Maria and only recognized her many years later when she showed him a lockets with the picture of her deceased mother, whose image was in the locket Simon carried as well.  It was a little too convenient but aided by all too understanding and sublime music, the moment however was extremely touching and emotionally true.

As a painter, it is always gratifying for me to see a painting or a drawing as pivotal element in literature or stage work.  It is even more fascinating when the focal point of the work is the creating of a piece of visual art.

The Young Girl with Turban
A good example is the novel by Tracy Chevalier and ensuring movie The Girl with a Pearl Earring, which gave a very detailed and fascinating account of a period of great painter Johannes Vermeer's life of and his creation of the painting The Young Girl with Turban.  The novel and the movie were so overwhelmingly popular that even the collector of this painting, Mauritshuis Museum in The Haag, was presumably forced to change its title to The Girl with a Pearl Earring.

Another book about a painter, The Birth of Venus by Sarah Duant, published before The Girl with a Pearl Earring, read like an unsuccessful rip-off which it was not.  I dived into the book eagerly, hoping to read interesting, however fictional, account of Sandro Botticelli's creation of The Birth of Venus (in Italian: Nascita di Venere) but I was disappointed to learn that it was about an unknown woman painter who would be Venus herself.  Though the book is interesting enough with its depictions of Renaissance Florence, the missing element of the creation of a well-known work was hard to ignore and the book ultimately was less interesting.

Perseus Cellini Loggia dei Lanzi 2005 09 13
Perseus with the Head of Medusa
Another good example, though perhaps less known than The Girl with a Pearl Earring, is an opera by Hector Berlioz, Benvenuto Cellini, which  was loosely based on the memoirs of the Florentine sculptor Benvenuto Cellini, and culminated in the forging of his immortal Perseus with the Head of Medusa in the Loggia dei Lanzi gallery on the edge of the Piazza della Signoria in Florence.

It must be a wonder to behold when the statue took its shape in front of audience's eyes, accompanied by Berlioz's stirring music.

Other artworks involving creatingpaintings include Turkish author Orhan Pamuk's My Name is Red, which took place in 16th-century Istanbul. A number of narrators give testimony to what they know about the circumstances surrounding the murder of master miniaturist and illuminator of books. The stories accumulated and became more detailed as the novel progresses, giving the reader not only a nontraditional murder mystery but insight into the mores and customs of the time (from Library Journal).  The particular piece was less clear here but its very vagueness contributed to the mystery of the novel therefore it was not a disappointment that I didn't have a clear view of the central painting in the novel.

The Temptation of Anthony
Then there is another opera Mathis der Maler by Paul Hindemith on the life of medieval German painter Matthias Grünewald with characters of the opera forming tableau from his masterpiece The Temptation of Anthony.  It was a work more about the painter and his experience than his work.  It would be very illuminating as well.

Finally, there is a work which was not about the creation of visual art but almost exclusively regarded a piece of visual art, Oscar Wilde's novel The Picture of Dorian Gray which told the tale of a young man named Dorian Gray who sold his soul to ensure his portrait would age rather than himself. Dorian's wish was fulfilled, plunging him into debauched actions. The portrait served as a reminder of the effect each act has upon his soul, with each sin displayed as a disfigurement of his form, or through a sign of aging (from  Painting here served as both a hedonistic celebration and a moralistic rebuke.

Art forms are very much intertwined and artists who are curious and interested in other artists' works often take up the challenge to describe other kind creations in the forms they are most comfortable with, therefore bless us with many fascinating works.  I would love to find more such books to read and more such stage works to watch.

Related posts on Art · 文化 · Kunst:
- Last Call - "The Girl With A Pearl Earring" in De Young Museum, San Francisco
- My Favorite Paintings in Mauritshuis, Den Haag, Netherlands
- "Compliments to Vermeer" - Controversial Solo Exhibition of the Renowned Chinese Painter JIN Shangyi
- Last Chance to See Terracotta Warriors in San Francisco Asian Art Museum
- Birth of Impressionism at De Young Museum, San Francisco
- Venetian Masterpieces from Vienna at De Young Museum
- My Favorite Works at De Young Museum, San Francisco
- My Favorite De Young Museum Collections

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Video Presentation of Still Life Paintings

Continuing my effort to present my paintings and drawings in a "curated" way, I made another video of my still life paintings.

As a painter, still life as a genre does not hold my attention as portrait or landscape paintings, simply because I feel that I can express my thoughts and emotions better through other subject matters. But I do esteem this genre as much and time to time I did feel compelling reasons to try my hands in this field.

I did not aim to recreate life like a photographer, rather, my paintings have always try to interpret what I saw. My still life drawings are much more "faithful" because they are mostly studies of real life and less personal statements.

Happy Thanksgiving!

>> Video presentations of paintings and drawings, Part XIV: My Theatrical Paintings on Video
<< Video presentations of paintings and drawings, Part XII: Orientation of Paintings

List of Video Presentation of My Artworks

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

21st Century Chinoiserie - "Raise the Red Lanter" and Other Stage Works by Zhang Yimou, Tan Dun and Amy Tan

A recent report on ballet performance of Raise the Red Lantern in San Paulo, danced by National Ballet of China, triggered my musing on the new influence of Chinese artists of all denominations, the topic I have commented on before.  Many Chinese artists have become driven forces in certain fields, such as conceptual artist AI Weiwei and filmmaker ZHANG Yimou. The ballet was the brainchild or Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou, who was credited as scenarist and director, basing the ballet on his movie of the same title, and the composer was CHEN Qigang and the choreography was credited to WANG Xinpeng and WANG Yuanyuan.

He started well, winning praises for his bold camera works, sincere acting and profound directorial efforts in movies such as Ju Dou, Raise Red Lantern, and The Story of Qiu Ju.

However, after string of successes dealing with human, particularly women struggles, he moved away from human conditions.  These works he since produced were usually smashing successful commercially but dismal artistically.  His blockbuster movie Hero, was a eulogy to tyranny and apology for the totalitarian Chinese regime.  His Curse of the Golden Flower was a remake of a remarkable play Thunderstorm by Cao Yu, first produced in 1935.  The play concentrated on human conflicts - masters and servants, the rich and the poor, the cynic and the innocent, men and women.  Zhang's film version kept none but the basic plot line.  He presented the audience a court intrigue which the triumphant feudal rigidity won the day and none of the characters had an iota of humanity.  A butchery of job to a masterpiece.

He has also produced spectacularly amazing and tacky spectacles which can stand comparison to those produced in North Korea.  Cases in study are the extravaganza of the 2008 Olympic Opening Ceremony and a series of spectacular travelogues in situ he stages in scenic resorts all over China.  These works universally engaged a vast army of anonymous performers dancing or marching in dwarfing sets.  Human beings are nothing but a trove of ants or working bees.  Below video is a snippet of these spectacles:

Zhang has been invited to direct operas in high profile productions.  One of them was Puccini's Turandot in Forbidden City which was  curiously both spectacular and flat.  He once again, used huge amount of  supernumeraries to dwarf the human drama, and scattered Peking Opera  motifs and martial artists about the stage whenever the singers were not  laboring their vocal cords.

His another high profile assignment was the world premiere production of TAN Dun's The First Emperor at the Metropolitan Opera, which though had an mildly interesting sound picture, was dramatically static and devoid of the humanity abundant in the film the opera was based on, The Emperor's Shadow.  It is hard to decide who was to be blamed but the insistent on putting a Peking Opera singer on the western operative stage was consistent with Zhang's extremely limited view of China and his rather narrow repertoire.

When he ventured into balletic field, he was only able to strike the same notes with the art format he literally knew nothing about.

The ballet Raise the Red Lantern was a potpourri of classical ballet, modern dance, acrobat, martial art, Peking opera, fashion show, and stage spectacle.  Since its inception, it had made rounds on international stage, including Cal Performances in Berkeley.  I decided to skip the show, after having viewed a DVD of the performance, courtesy of my local library.

It was quite obvious who was the driving force of the ballet and it did not bode well for a ballet when the scenarist and director overwhelmed the composer and choreographer.  It was a colorful show, cartloads of colors, dominated by inevitable red, like in some unimaginative Chinese restaurants.  The music was fashionable East-Meets-West fusion, dominated by the insistent beats of Peking opera.

It is a curious thing to identify Peking opera or martial art with China.  Perhaps, it is excusable for westerners to make such mistakes but for literary Chinese people, it is too skewed way of viewing China.  Chinese culture contains those elements for sure but are far broader.  One can understand many facets of Chinese culture without having any contacts with Peking opera or martial art.  It is like Chinese food.  Sure, most Chinese people use chopsticks to eat Chinese food.  But if one chooses to use folk or spoon instead, Chinese food tastes still Chinese food.  In the movie Raise the Red Lantern, Peking opera elements were brought in by one of the  concubines; in the ballet, the lover of one of the concubines was a  Peking opera singer.  This easy reliance on Peking opera and martial art for "enrichment" and "authenticity" has becoming increasingly tiring and annoying and it is pure mannerism and formulaic now.

The ballet was obviously created with love, and everything was created with meticulous care.  But it was the scenery took the top honor and the dancers were invariably overshadowed by the exterior splendor, as in almost all of Zhang's recent attempts.  The dance steps definitely took the backseat and were not inspired at all.  Sometimes the movements were downright ugly and uncouth, even ridiculous.  There was a time, four dances, en pointe, carried a large mahjong table around the stage.  Zhang and his creative team seemed have mistaken absurdity for originality.

With moments like that, the show was never boring however and it could be very satisfying if one thinks anything unfamiliar is refreshing and cherishable, or if acrobatic performance is more gratifying than a true ballet performance.  I've seen traditional Chinese stories told in pure classical ballet forms, set to wonderful symphonic music without any artificial inclusion of traditional Chinese instruments.

What made effective of Puccini's oriental tales - Madama Buttefly or Turandot - were the beautiful music speaking to all human kinds and effective human drama.  Those stories could be placed in any corner of the world.  Oriental local was rather incidental.

When  lamenting the death of traditional art forms such as ballet and opera,  looking to east for salvation has not proven successful.

Tan Dun's The First Emperor fell to the same trap.  It also faltered in the characterizations of the first emperor of China.  The original movie demonstrated his cruelty on all levels without denying him as a human being, however cruel one.  In the opera, he was just a misunderstood politician and a little unyielding father.  This trivialization of his character and action didn't make him more profound; rather, it made the opera small.  The opera also introduced anachronistic Peking opera elements and a strange shaman character who would convenient take some blame of the emperor's evil deeds.

It seemed that the creators of the opera, composer, librettist and director, all grew up in China, had censured themselves.  Espoused with the deficiency of humanism in Chinese tradition, they made a poor case for looking for salvation from the east.

Even for Amy Tan, an American born writer of Chinese descent, her effort to merge east and west on stage failed just miserably.  The opera based on her novel, The Bonesetter's Daughter, had some characters best described as caricatures and the music, set by Stewart Wallace, had a mediocre score which relied heavily on the novelty of a most crude and grating Chinese instrument, thus rendered the opera unlistenable.  The failure was largely the composers, but I suspect that Tan's relentless promoting of Chinoiserie played a role in amking her characters stereotypical and I also wonder if she had a hand in Wallace's "incorporating" aforementioned Chinese instrument, whose novelty could not rescue the score from its mediocrity.

It is the content matters.  The form is just a container.

These theatrical efforts I mentioned above failed mostly due to the supremacy of formats over substances.

If you are in doubt of my arguments, I invite you to view a sample of the "ballet", Raise the Red Lantern, and judge for yourself:

Monday, November 22, 2010

Growing Up in Cultural Desert

When I grew up in China, it was an obvious totalitarian regime, and as mentioned in my previous blog post, An Accidental Artist -- My Beginning, it was a cultural desert. 

During my childhood, classical music was nonexistent; literature by classical authors, Chinese or otherwise, were largely denounced; theatrical works and fine arts were consigned to ideological struggle tools.  How my father managed to keep some books published perhaps in 1950s by authors such as Pushkin, Klyrov and Goethe was quite puzzling.  That marked our family somewhat more literary minded than most.  However, considering the fact that my father was separated from the family most of the time shortly before I was born till I was about five years old, I was raised in an environment not dissimilar to, if not more wretched than, other poor Chinese children, who lacked nutrition of both material and spiritual kinds.

I've heard a telling story about that time.  In the middle of Cultural Revolution, some people would go to cinema to see Lenin in October, a Soviet Union made propaganda movie, again and again, not to be educated in the value of proletarian struggle, but to catch a couple minutes' worth of Swan Lake performance.

When my father returned from his semi-forced labor assignment in the countryside, he worked in the province's cultural bureau and we got many chances to see local artists - singers, dancers and actors, in the works sanctioned by their ultimate employer, the government.

My father also took me to Beijing a few times, to attend national art exhibits showcasing paintings and photographs which were either socialist naturalism brutes or naked lies of idyllic life which didn't exist in China.  Those experiences were not without their merits but they were rather numbing and did nothing to entice me to become an artist.

Only after I started school and with the change of the politics, arts of all kinds started to make a gingerly comeback and eventually even Swan Lake could be performed on the stage of my home city, Shenyang, an important industrial city whose art scene had been strongly influenced by Russian cultures of old and new.

Rembrandt. Juno. 1664-65. Oil on canvas
I still vividly remember my first encounters with paintings by the old masters, such as Rembrandt's Juno, on well-produced large-format calendars.  I was absolutely entranced by this regal and beautiful goddess.  During that time, I was also exposed to Italian Renaissance for the first time.

Classical plays returned as well and I was able to see some amazing performances of A Servant to Two Masters, The Miser, The Visit of an Old Lady, King Lear, Desire Under the Elm.

Good books returned too - I started to devout Balzac, Tolstoy, Austen, Zola, etc.

A symphonic orchestra formed in my home city and I was even able to listen to performances on radio of Carmen, Le Nozze di Figaro and Die Zauberflöte, often transmitted from more cosmopolitan Beijing or Shanghai.  My first experience with western opera was Franz Lehár's Die lustige Witwe, sung and danced in Chinese, with considerable verve and beauty.

That epoch poised to be an amazing cultural renaissance but art soon was defeated in the battle against commercialism, symbolized by the fact that the home theater of the main troupe in Shenyang, one of the most venerated playhouses in the nation was converted into a discotheque.  The final nail on the coffin was the big ideological struggle in the 1980s which culminated in the brutal crackdown of the democratic movement in 1989.

My art education in China thus completed.

>> My Path, Part III: Fifteen Authors Influenced Me Most and Watching Shakespeare in China
<< My Path, Part I: An Accidental Artist -- My Beginning

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Pope, Condoms and Male Prostitutes

I don't mean to make a sensational story by putting those three objects in the title line.  Rather, the story I am commenting on is a serious one.

The pope finally made except to the catholic church's condemnation of condom use, if it can help to stop AIDS AND without accepting it as a way for preventing conception.  He made clear that he considered the use of condoms a last resort and not a way to prevent conception and the example he gave of when they could be used was in the case of male prostitutes, because the sexual activities between male prostitutes and their male customers would not result in any pregnancy.

Pope Benedict XVI pointedly avoided sexual activities between male and female, including female prostitutes.  Perhaps, he would insist on that the sexual activities between female prostitutes and male customers be for procreation purposes only?

Desire / 慾望 / Sehnsucht

© Matthew Felix Sun

Limited Edition "The Song of Orpheus"

I was just notified by ArtSlant, a vastly influential contemporary artist/collector network, that my "The Song of Orpheus" was selected by their Curation Team to be featured in their Showcase Limited Editions Collection.  This collection will be launched November 20th and it will be digitally offered at their Golden Frame exhibition at Aqua Art.

The ArtSlant LIMITED EDITIONS COLLECTION will feature approximately 30 Juried Showcase winning artists. This new collection will be developed by the ArtSlant curation team in conjunction with outside curatorial assistance.

The LIMITED EDITIONS COLLECTION will feature archival fine art prints that ArtSlant produces and numbers for each purchase. These Limited Edition prints will be sold exclusively through the ArtSlant SalesRoom. The edition for each selected image will be 30 prints. With each purchase, the artist will provide the buyer with a completed and signed Certificate of Authenticity verifying the edition run and details on arttist's work (ArtSlant'll provide the form to you).

ArtSlant's Art Consultants oversee all sales of each print offered in the Limited Editions Collection to ensure the utmost care and professionalism.

As agreed, once all 30 prints have been sold, the artist's work will be removed from this collection and no further prints of this work will be sold by ArtSlant or the artist

ArtSlant will promote this collection through ArtSlant's SalesRoom as well as during the Aqua Art Miami 2010 fair and Golden Frame Exhibition.

The 2010 Limited Editions Collection was released on November 21.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Orientation of Paintings

People joke about hanging artworks in the wrong ways, either upside-down, or side-ways, mistakes can happen particularly to abstract works, whose orientation can be more fluid.

More presentational works is not immune from this problem, though definitely less frequently.  Sometimes, such uncertainty or ambiguity regarding the orientation of artworks opens a new dimension and add new meanings to a work.

The orientations of most of my paintings can be determined readily but a handful can be less rigid, such as below paintings, perhaps, one can argue that hanging them upside-down would be just the same:

Homeland Impression, IV / 故鄉印象之四 / Vaterland-Eindruck, IV

Nurturing / 哺乳 / Ernährung

Purple Dream / 紫夢 / Purpurroter Traum


I also remembered two occasions when I debated seriously on if those two works should be viewed in horizontal or vertical format.

Mackerel / 鯖魚 / Makrele


Sisyphus / 西西弗斯 / Sisyphus

To give my readers a clearer idea, I made the little video below to demonstrate my argument visually:

>> Video presentations of paintings and drawings, Part XIII: Video Presentation of Still Life Paintings
<< Video presentations of paintings and drawings, Part XI: 2011 Calendars Ready for Downloading

List of Video Presentation of My Artworks

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I "What" NY

This is the last report of my New York trip in September.  After so many reports of my New York trip, if my readers feel tired of these, I sure can understand.

This made me think of the sign of "I heart NY" - the banality of it has made me, a west-coast dweller cringe at the sight of it, I can imagine how a New Yorker feels about it.

A shop sign I saw in Lower East Side neighborhood, expressed it the best:



Till next trip!

<< New York City Report, September 2010, Part XXIV: Artworks in New York's Streets 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

2011 Calendars Ready for Downloading

Once again, I've made two sets calendars with images of my paintings and drawings for people to download in PDF forms.

You can find the links on by searching for Calendar:

Or go directly to the PDF pages (510kb)
- With Horizontal Format Images
- With Vertical Format Images 

For a preview of these two calendars, please view the my YouTube videos:

Horizontal Format Images Calendar Video:

Vertical Format Images Calendar Video:

>> Video presentations of paintings and drawings, Part XII: Orientation of Paintings
<< Video presentations of paintings and drawings, Part X: Paintings of Interiors

List of Video Presentation of My Artworks

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Artworks in New York's Streets

There are many incredible artworks on "display" in the streets of New York City, besides world-class museums and wonderful galleries.  I mostly enjoyed my viewing artists' displays in street, which sipping wonderful cappuccino in Soho.  Unfortunately, I didn't see any transactions during the time.  Hopefully it was due to early hour.  The quality of those offerings of course varied greatly.  It was very familiar scene and the lady with hat made me feel that I was in Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley.

Soho, New York, 11 September 2010 _8026

Soho, New York, 11 September 2010 _8025

Soho, New York, 11 September 2010 _8027

Flat Iron Building 13 September 2010 _8521

I've taken many pictures and the below are a sample of notable things:

5th Avenue, New York City, 8 September 2010 _7372
5th Avenue

5th Avenue, New York City, 8 September 2010 _7588
5th Avenue

Union Square, New York City, September 2010 _8526
Union Square

Union Square, New York City, September 2010 _8527
Union Square

New York City, September 2010 _8638
Lower East Side

New York City, September 2010 _8631
Lower East Side

Street Art, Chelsea, 11 September 2010 _8106

Street Art, Chelsea, 11 September 2010 _8105

Posters, New York City, 9 September 2010 _7609
Lower East Side

New York City, September 2010 _8014
Lower East Side

New York City, September 2010 _7992

New York City, September 2010 _8622
Lower East Side

New York City, September 2010 _8522

Soho, New York, 11 September 2010 _8036

Fashion Weekend, 10 September 2010 _7921
Soho, Fashion Week

Soho, New York, 11 September 2010 _8033

Soho, New York, 11 September 2010 _8030

Flat Iron Building, New York City, 13 September 2010 _8511
Flatiron Building

New York City, September 2010 _7981
Cooper Union, New Academic Building

New York City, September 2010 _7971
Lower East Side

New York City, September 2010 _7636

Lower East Side

New York City, September 2010 _8615
Lower East Side

New York City, September 2010 _7944

New York City, September 2010 _7635
Lower East Side

New York City, September 2010 _7957

New York City, September 2010 _7603

New York is quite wonderful, isn't it?

>> New York City Report, September 2010, Part XXV: I "What" NY
<< New York City Report, September 2010, Part XXIII: New York Gallery Wrap Up

Monday, November 15, 2010

San Francisco Asian Art Museum's Trouble

San Francisco Chronicle reported that San Francisco Asian Art Museum is in dire financial straits and could be forced into bankruptcy if it can't work out a new deal with its lender by Friday, according to knowledgeable sources:

According to its board minutes, the museum had a balanced budget as recently as June 2009 and was racking up record attendance.

Since then, however, attendance has fallen sharply and the place hasn't seen any donor gifts in a couple of years.

Even a ballyhooed exhibit to coincide with the opening of Shanghai's world trade expo in May failed to draw the anticipated crowds.

That last sentence seemed have pointed out the problems.  Shanghai's World Expo was a hyped event in China and was only an amusing and baffling anachronistic vanity display by the Chinese government of multiple levels, and the preparation of the Expo was characterized by forceful evictions and demolitions in Shanghai and became the symbol of injustice.  Museum goers in the U.S. cannot find any enthusiasm to the exhibit closely associated with such bizarre spectacle.

The "Shanghai" exhibit was a jumbled mess without clear curatorial direction and had little artistic merit and was a clear pandering to Chinese government and its ardent supports.  Perhaps, Asian Art Museum hoped to sell this exhibit to the large Chinese community in San Francisco but it seemed that cynical calculation has misfired.

It was reported that San Francisco government will not bail the museum out.  Perhaps, they should have asked the Chinese government to step in.

San Francisco Asian Art Museum is a cultural jewel and it is a shame that it's facing bankruptcy.  Let's hope that it will ride out of this turbulence and present us exhibits and collections with real artistic and historical merits.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Paintings of Interiors

Self-portrait is a portal to peek into a creative mind and inspect a revealed soul, or a veiled soul. A self-portrait is the inner being, which is always mysterious.

Of course, that was only a metaphor. Inner space in its literal sense can be as intense and mysterious.

In past years, I have made several paintings with interior scenes and the probing f those domestic niceties, grandiose magnificence or forbidding mysteries gave me endless intelligence stimulation and even sensual pleasure. Below is a collage of such effort on video:

The paintings in the video are:

Lamp and Firefly
Room with a Lamp
Museum Interior

For more interior paintings, please visit my Flickr site: Interior

>> Video presentations of paintings and drawings, Part XI: 2011 Calendars Ready for Downloading
<< Video presentations of paintings and drawings, Part IX: My Self-Portraits

List of Video Presentation of My Artworks

Saturday, November 13, 2010

New York Gallery Wrap Up

I am getting anxious to finish my reports of my New York trip in September. I'm afraid that my readers might be tired of them as well. I am going to wrap it up soon.

In this post, I'll address other galleries I've seen, besides those reported before -- Arslan at Dillon Gallery, Jennifer Steinkamp at Lehmann Maupin Gallery, David Antonides in Broadfoot & Broadfoot Gallery, Liao Yibai at Mike Weiss Gallery, and other important displays in alternative locations such as Tom Otterness's Life Underground in subway station, and Barry McGee's Mural in Soho.

As I mentioned before, SoHo gallery scene had pretty much dried up and only a handful galleries, such as Broadfoot and Broadfoot, together with street vendors held some interests.  Below are a few pictures I took in neighborhood in and around traditional SoHo gallery zone.

Gallery, New York City, 11 September 2010 _8060
Washburn Gallery

Moe's Meat Market Art Gallery, 12 September 2010 _8125
Moe's Meat Market Art Gallery

Moe's Meat Market Art Gallery, 12 September 2010 _8126
Moe's Meat Market Art Gallery

Gallery, New York City, 11 September 2010 _8603

Chelsea was still teeming with galleries and attracts much foot traffic.  I visited a few very interesting galleries and a handful quite exciting ones, such as Dillon Gallery as reported before, and also some galleries showcasing art works appealed me somewhat less:

511 West 25th Gallery, New York City, 11 September 2010 _8094
511 West 25th Gallery

Gallery, New York City, 11 September 2010 _8045

Gallery, New York City, 11 September 2010 _8059

Gallery, New York City, 11 September 2010 _8058

Gallery, New York City, 11 September 2010 _8092
Betsy Eby: Scales and Measures, Winston Wächter Fine Art Gallery

Gallery, New York City, 11 September 2010 _8093
Betsy Eby: Scales and Measures, Winston Wächter Fine Art Gallery

Gallery, New York City, 11 September 2010 _8083
Rimi Yang, Stricoff Gallery, New York City,

Gallery, New York City, 11 September 2010 _8073

Gallery, New York City, 11 September 2010 _8072

Gagosian Gallery, New York City, 11 September 2010 _8080
Gagosian Gallery

Gallery, New York City, 11 September 2010 _8116
Stephen Haller Gallery

Gallery, New York City, 11 September 2010 _8109
Johnnie Winona Ross, Stephen Haller Gallery

Gallery, New York City, 11 September 2010 _8107
Johnnie Winona Ross (two paintings at the sides), Stephen Haller Gallery

Gallery, New York City, 11 September 2010 _8090
Adam Fuss, Cheim & Read Gallery

Gallery, New York City, 11 September 2010 _8097
Adam Fuss, Cheim & Read Gallery

Gallery, New York City, 11 September 2010 _8087
Jacqueline Mitri (two paintings at the right), Agora Gallery

Gallery, New York City, 11 September 2010 _8086
Agora Gallery

Gallery, New York City, 11 September 2010 _8089
Agora Gallery

Gallery, New York City, 11 September 2010 _8085
Ivan Hurtado Lorenzo, Agora Gallery

Gallery, New York City, 11 September 2010 _8069

Gallery, New York City, 11 September 2010 _8068

Near the end of my visit, I saw a van unloading paintings to a gallery.  I would love to have my paintings unloading there some day.

Gallery, New York City, 11 September 2010 _8098

>> New York City Report, September 2010, Part XXIV: Artworks in New York's Streets 
<< New York City Report, September 2010, Part XXII: Veniero's Pasticceria & Caffe in New York City