Friday, October 21, 2011

Cleveland Museum of Art: Fu Baoshi Young Professionals Night (@ClevelandArt)

The Young Professionals Event tonight at the Cleveland Museum of Art is one of those odd events where it came to my attention not through a single channel but through seemingly every vehicle I pay even the slightest bit of attention to. Needless to say, I was rather intrigued by the opportunity and was excited to "give it a whirl" so to speak.

Rachel was working at the museum tonight so after we were both finished with work for the day  we met in the galleries when we were both finished and killed some time in medieval and contemporary before making it back to the reception. The reception was quiet but well attended -- an interesting mix of people I know and museum staffers I recognized and completely new faces.

The reception featured Chinese takeout containers and deserts (I'm proud to say that I held my own with chopsticks, but Rachel had me firmly beat in that category). Also at the reception a supply of paper, ink, and brushes where you could try your hands at Fu Baoshi's techniques. Once again Rachel's artistic side had a chance to shine.

At 7PM, though, the most interesting -- and unexpected -- part of the evening began. Curator Anita Chung gave a guided tour of the exhibition, relating Mr. Baoshi's art -- both subject matter and techniques to the political and social climate which existed in China throughout his career, and his struggle to remain relevant (and not have his art appear elitist) after the rise of communism. Ms. Chung's enlightening presentation as we strolled through the exhibition also touched on the differences between Western and Chinese art: Where Western art tends to show things from a fixed perspective, Chinese frequently shows the subject over a period of time; where Western is quick to reject and adopt traditions (think all of the "isms") where Chinese has a very long tradition that isn't (or at least wasn't) readily rejected.

Ms. Chung was understandably very excited about her exhibition and her detailed (and far from boring) tour gave en excellent overview and things that will certainly help to appreciate the exhibition when I return to peruse it at my (our) own pace.

(as a side note today was Rachel and my septamensiversary)


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