China-ism II: Democracy or Economy?

When 13 Sep 2011 - 9 Oct 2011
Where White Box
329 Broome Street
New York 10002
United States
Enquiry 212 714 2347

Anton S. Kandinsky, Brothers, 2011. Courtesy the artist

September 13 – October 9 2011

Opening Reception: September 22, 6 – 8pm

VIP Reception/Press Conference: September 15

Panel discussion – “Democracy or Economy? China-ism in the Contemporary World”: October 6, 6:30-8:30pm

Press Release:

At the turn of the 21st century, China has galvanized a powerhouse economy, and its contemporary art has had a resounding effect on the contemporary art world at large. When Andy Warhol transformed Mao into a pop art icon through his larger than life portrait, Mao entered the international art scene and became a timeless symbol of what New York-based artist Anton S. Kandinsky calls “China-ism.”

“China-ism” is an ironic artistic interpretation of contemporary China – its culture, politics and economy, as coined by Kandinsky.  It also serves as a way for the international art community to reflect on contemporary China through the lens of art. The first China-ism exhibition was curated by David Rong and Alex Demko in October of 2009.

While China’s economy has changed and grown dramatically over the last twenty years, the state of democracy in the country has not changed at all. Merely an artist seeking and defending his freedom of speech, Ai Weiwei was detained on April 3, 2011 and was held in an unknown location by the Chinese government for 80 days. Just over a month into the artist’s arrest, Alexandra Munroe, Senior Curator of Asian art at the Guggenheim Museum, spoke at the opening of Ai Weiwei’s Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads in New York City (an opening the artist was formerly scheduled to attend) stating that if there is no freedom of speech, there is no modern art and that the world is not challenging the Chinese government but that the Chinese government is in fact challenging the world.

The exhibition, China-ism II: Democracy or Economy? asks the question: “If China is already changing the world, will the world change China?” The exhibition presents 13 oil paintings by Kandinsky as well as one original photograph, Guard, Seven Frames (2009), and video work I’m walking on the road to the Dead Land (2010) by Ai Weiwei.

If Wassily Kandinsky’s works are representative of revolutionary change in the early twentieth century, Anton S. Kandinsky has upheld the tradition begun by his forefather. Well known for his “Gemism” paintings, begun in 2004, these works are composed of naturalistic images of gemstones intermingling with flags, ideograms, political figures and celebrities as well as historical and social iconography from China, the former Soviet Union as well as American pop culture.

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