28 Chinese Exhibition, Asian Art Museum – San Francisco

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While on my trip to California we ventured off into San Francisco to visit the Asian Art Museum as we had some much needed rain. Unlike museums in the UK you have to pay for entry, this museum highlights the diversity of cultures and creativity throughout the whole of Asia.
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We went specifically to have a look at the current exhibition “28 Chinese”.
28 Chinese is an exhibition displaying the extraordinary Rubell collection in Miami, presenting 48 artworks from 28 contemporary Chinese artists. After a spot of lunch in the museum cafe we headed off to explore.
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The impressive works include early innovators and internationally acclaimed artists such as Ai Weiwei, Shang Huan and Huang Yong Ping as well as the new generation like Liu Wei. The works are shown throughout the museum on each floor which I thought was a very thoughtful touch, the contemporary artworks stood side by side with historical Asian pieces linking them to their cultural lineage.
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A highlight for me was the 40 foot installation by Zhu Jinshi of a colossal boat, you can see the amazing construction of rows of stacked paper with bamboo rods suspended from the ceiling with cotton thread. Walking through this installation was great with all the natural light flooding the gallery. It created some interesting dimensions and shadows created through layer upon layer of thin paper.
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Situated in one of the large natural light filled rooms of the museum next to the museum shop which creates the perfect setting for this vast piece of art. The biggest piece in the collection you definitely can’t miss this piece when you visit, it is an incredible sight to see.
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Other pieces which I love include “Table with Two Legs” (2008) by Ai Weiwei, a deconstructed wooden Qing Dynasty table which created the most interesting form and shadows. The idea of taking something extremely old and creating something which looks new and modern.
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“History observed: Joseph Beuys & Mao Zedong” (2007) by Li Zhanyang a sculpture made from fibreglass, resin and paint which looks incredibly life like including the folds and weight of the fabric which their clothes are made out of.
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“One Breath – Portrait of the Rubell Family” (2011) by Hu Qingyan is a marble sculpture capturing the breath of all the members of the Rubell family. I loved the way that this sculpture looked so soft and not made out of such as hard surface such as marble. The side view of the sculpture looked to me like a heart shape, which to me is a family.
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“Spred B-051” (2010) by Xu Zhen is a large piece of embroidery on canvas. I loved the texture of this piece and the playfulness of the whole piece with a small underlying political edge.
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There were several other pieces which I loved as well however I think that if you’re in the area just take a couple of hours to wander around this beautiful museum and take in some new and old artistic pieces, get a lot of inspiration and support such a beautiful building. The diversity of art which is coming out of China now is extremely varied, from traditional ink paintings, Chinese characters to photography, installations and large modern sculptures.
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I found it extremely interesting and refreshing to see the creativity and variety of artistic influences coming out of China in art and in fashion recently and to see it on such a beautiful platform was even better.
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If you’re planning a visit to San Francisco then definitely put this exhibition on your list of things to do. The mix of traditional Asian art with the modern pieces in the Rubell collection is an interesting and beautiful parallel to see throughout the exhibition, you won’t regret going to see these beautiful pieces of art.
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For more information about the Asian Art Museum and “28 Chinese” visit the website.
If you want to see more from my trip to San Francisco, please check out my instagram account, Facebook and twitter. I am looking forward to sharing more with you all from my trip to the States. Watch this space.