New Contemporary Art in the new Chinese Gallery

Miao Xiaochun Beijing Hand Scroll 08.024.25B detail

Miao Xiaochun, Beijing Hand Scroll 08.024.25B (detail)

Back in June, the Collectors’ Circle of Pacific Asia Museum voted to purchase two contemporary Chinese works at their Annual Purchase Dinner. Specifically considered with our Chinese Gallery renovation in mind, these new works demonstrate how artists have responded to and reinterpreted traditions throughout history.

Ballots cast by the Collectors’ Circle members selected Beijing Hand Scroll 08.04.25B (2007-2009) by Miao Xiaochun (top) and a new work by Bovey Lee in her Vase series.

Qingming Festival

Along the River during the Qingming Festival. Click to enlarge. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Miao Xiaochun Beijing Hand Scroll 08.024.25B

Miao Xiaochun, Beijing Hand Scroll 08.024.25B. Click to enlarge.

Miao Xiaochun’s respect for and delight in the revered hand scroll Along the River during the Qingming Festival by the Song dynasty painter Zhang Zeduan (1085-1145) (above) inspired his Beijing Hand Scroll series. Miao was born in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province, China, and lives and works in Beijing. His work shows the continuing impact of prior centuries of Chinese art history on the most cutting-edge of contemporary artists. He is known for playing with exaggerated scale in other works, and with this series creates images that frequently reach widths of close to 4 meters. Our newly acquired work has a visual rhythm that echoes the earlier hand scroll, while capturing today’s Beijing: hutong are demolished to make way for new construction, migrant workers rest in the streets under propaganda posters, and alley ways are choked with cars and urban debris.

Bovey Lee, C[ouch]

Bovey Lee, C[ouch]. Click to enlarge.

Bovey Lee, born in Hong Kong and residing in Pennsylvania, pays homage to her cultural nexus through the paper-cut, a well-known Chinese folk art. In spite of her Vase series’ seemingly clear connection to traditional practice, she challenges and complicates the genre with  themes like the tension between man and the environment in the context of sacrifice and survival–an issue that is present throughout the world today, especially in contemporary China. Pacific Asia Museum has was pleased to receive a new work from this series titled Vase-C[ouch], which brings together the landscapes of the natural world and contemporary urbanism.

Miao Xiaochun’s piece will be on view in our new Chinese Gallery when it opens to the public on Friday, October 18. The new gallery will take the same thematic approach as our Introductory Gallery and Gallery of Korean Art– this particular work will reside in the “Tradition and Innovation” section, which combines contemporary and historic art to demonstrate how artists have referenced the past in their own work. Mark your calendar for opening day, and if you’re a member, don’t miss the Members’ Opening on October 17. More on our website here. ~CM

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