No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia

When 22 Feb 2013 - 22 May 2013
Where Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
1071 5th Ave at 89th St
New York, NY 10128
United States

February 22 – May 22 2013

Press Release:

From February 22 through May 22, 2013, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York will present No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia, the inaugural exhibition of the Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative. The exhibition features work by 22 artists and collectives representing some of the most compelling and innovative voices in South and Southeast Asia today. Focusing on the region’s shifting spectrum of creative practices, the exhibition traces networks of intellectual exchange and influence, and considers the various impacts of ethno-nationalism, colonization, and globalization on national identity. The exhibition features painting, sculpture, photography, video, works on paper, and installation, the majority of which will be on view in the United States for the first time. All works have been newly acquired for the Guggenheim’s collection under the auspices of the Guggenheim UBS MAP Purchase Fund. Following its presentation in New York, No Country is expected to travel to venues in Hong Kong and Singapore.

Exhibition Overview:

Drawn from the opening line in W.B. Yeats’s poem “Sailing to Byzantium” (1928), which was later adopted by Cormac McCarthy for his novel No Country for Old Men (2005), the exhibition title No Country evokes the concept of a culture without borders. Investigating the diversity of contemporary artistic practice in South and Southeast Asia through the work of a cross-generational selection of artists and in the context of the region’s problematic borders, the exhibition traces the complex relationships and cultural influences that connect the area’s people to each other and the rest of the world.

Among the works’ themes are: concepts of nation, identity, and religion; cross-cultural encounter and negotiation; and historical interpretation and narrative. Many make use of cultural appropriation and emergent media.

Of the works chosen for the exhibition, Yap notes: “There is a tremendous range of artistic practice in South and Southeast Asia, and certainly more artists and artworks than any single project can accommodate. In this exhibition, the intention is both to present the range of aesthetic developments and subjects of interest to contemporary artists, and at the same time to challenge the privileging of nation and national narrative as the basis for understanding aesthetic practices from different countries. The hope is that these artworks will contribute to a deeper and more critical understanding of the region, both for audiences in the United States and those in Asia. Accompanied by programs for engagement with different local and international audiences, No Country is more than an exhibition alone, it is a platform for discussion and exchange, and for the undoing of barriers to mutual understanding.”

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