Saturday, September 05, 2015

First Look at the Asian Art Museum

A month long survey of contemporary art owned by the Asian Art Museum has opened this weekend with the work of a couple of dozen artists, both local and global. The museum has free admission tomorrow (Sunday the 6th) and it is worth checking out.

At a press preview on Wednesday, one of my favorite painters in the world, Hung Liu, made an appearance along with a half dozen other artists.

I stumbled across a retrospective of her work earlier this year at the Palm Springs Art Museum, and was stunned by its combination of beauty and subversive power. Above is one of a 1996 triptych of paintings, The Long Wharf: Chinese Junks painted over archival photographs from 1885 of boats in San Francisco Bay.

Across from the Chinese junks are a collection of Japanese baskets brought down from the Lloyd Costen collection on the second floor. Yako Hodo's 1988 My UFO makes a great centerpiece.

The tour-de-force pieces in the exhibit are by Chinese artist Yang Yongliang. In one room, there is a huge, gorgeous scroll print on aluminum from 2010, Artificial Wonderland #1 that is an amazing collage of drawing and photography that creates an imaginary landscape.

On closer inspection, the magical landscape is infested with construction cranes and development, looking a bit like a modernized Gustave Dore illustration of Dante's Inferno.

In an adjoining cubicle, a four-screen, high definition video variation on the landscape after it has been built upon, is called The Night of Perpetual Day. The piece is animated with loops of streaming waterfalls on mountains, thousands of cars on elevated freeways, and the occasional blinking building light. Joni Mitchell's "they paved paradise, and put up a parking lot" comes to mind.


janinsanfran said...

Saw some of those Yang Yongliang works at the Met last spring. I was blown away by the detail.

Hattie said...

Wonderful stuff. And I love your sensitive photoportraits.