Showing posts from October, 2008

art+capital (part 2)

Shanghai Night - 不夜城 A friend looked at the Shanghai skyline, turned to me and said - "You know, every city now has one of these roof top bars." Shanghai has always been a global city. Historically, with all the foreign concessions, it was akin to being colonised by multiple nations at one time. Its landscape reflects these influences - the assimilations and tensions, and its status today as an "expat" paradise merely continues that past. It seems obvious that the art industry and centres of cultural influence are always built around centres of financial power - London, New York, and now, Shanghai+Beijing. Like most service industries, the art industry serves the powerful. As such, if you are thinking of starting an art business, the Chinese art industry offers these lessons: (1) Land Today Art Museum in Beijing; Installation at Zendai MOMA If there's a Chinese Bill Gates and Donald Trump, it would be the latter who would be more likely to open a


A one-day crash tour of the Beijing contemporary art industry could bring you to the following places: (1) The Art Mall The Dashanzi or 798 Art District is a district of old dis-used factory complexes and low warehouses/shops inhabited by artist studios and galleries since the 90s, but more distinctly marketed as an art destination in the last few years. Today, it receives busloads of domestic and international tourists daily, and is the first destination mentioned not only by art magazines but newspaper travel reviews. There are cafes, souvenir stores, bins for recyclable waste, litter-free paved streets, new brand-name galleries from Korea (T-Space), New York ( Pace Wildenstein ), Italy ( Continua )...and a new section supposedly developed with state support and ironically bearing the name "798 Originality Square". Feng Zheng Jie's new work - glamming up death, decay and consumption. With all the market hype about Chinese contemporary art, it is easy to d

what I've learnt from J

When I first visited J's flat (where we now still live) years ago, I learnt that instead of using the usual mop and pail to clean the floor, he uses a cloth or rag to clean each of the tiles, Cinderella-like on his knees. I had thought then he was just being super anal fussy about cleanliness. In time, I found out that he's not really a neat-freak, but is just someone who takes very good care of whatever he has - however small the thing is or large the effort. Perhaps it comes from being from a big, lower-income family. My nouveau-riche household has fewer qualms about use/waste-and-replace! Though it doesn't always work out this way, the care invested is sometimes reaped in terms of a certain longevity. Simply put, the object lasts. The same goes for work - I think what results is that a design stands to longer and repeated scrutiny. And for certain, there's something in there about relationships. What I've learnt from J is that when you've decided something o