Monday, May 21, 2012
Phantoms of Asia 1: Mayor Ed Lee
Phantoms of Asia, the big summer show at the Asian Art Museum, opened last week with a party, a free admission Saturday during the Asian Heritage Street Celebration, and a press preview last Wednesday morning.
The gaggle of press people on Wednesday were asked to leave the warm confines of the museum and make their way to the Breathing Lotus in the foggy Civic Center where we were to wait for a speech by Mayor Edwin Lee.
The contemporary artists who were attending the opening of the show posed together in front of the lotus, and museum director Jay Xu gave a short speech explaining that the Mayor was running slightly late but "he will be here directly."
Xu was interrupted by the Christian crazy above with a bullhorn who occasionally hangs out in Civic Center. He was drawn to all of us sinners like a fly to excrement, shouting hell and brimstone through his instrument as loud as he could, and drowning out Xu who joked about the wonders of "free speech."
The Mayor and his entourage above finally arrived twenty-five minutes late and we were all cursing him under our breath because it was a bitterly cold, blustery morning in Civic Center and most people weren't dressed for the occasion.
Lee is also a terrible public speaker, so to add insult to injury we listened to ten minutes of cliches and inanities that made absolutely no sense.
The Japanese guest curator of the contemporary Asian art show is Mami Kataoka above, and after a short explanation of the show which was also fairly incomprehensible, we were let loose into the museum which looks very lively with all the new work mingling with the older, permanent collection.