Huayuan Art showcases Silk Road murals and Suzhou embroidery at Artexpo NY

13、莫高窟第249窟 阿修罗 西魏 80X60 (沈永平)

Beyond Chinatown (by Andrew Shiue):

You can see treasures from China’s cultural heritage that typically are not seen in museums and galleries at Artexpo New York at Pier 94 along the Hudson River.  Huayuan Art, an offshoot of an organization founded 23 years ago in Gansu, China and devoted to the cultural development of Northwest China brings to the fair elaborate replicas of the Silk Road Buddhist murals and a live demonstration of Suzhou’s silk craft.  Additionally, Huayuan will display other created through specialized craftmanship:  lacquer paintings, Nepali Thangkas, multi-layered paper cuttings and traditional Chinese paintings.

Huayuan will display 29 cave painting replicas based on murals from the famous Mogao Caves and the under-the-tourist-radar but equally exquisite Yulin Caves (榆林窟), and Maijishan Grottoes (麦积山石窟) that were hand-painted by Chinese artists Gao Shan, Shen Yongping, Liu Junqi, and Shi Dunyu.  These caves, with their exquisite wall paintings and sculptures, bear witness to the intense religious, artistic, and cultural exchange that took place along the Silk Road—history’s most famous trade route linking East and West.  The replicas are painted with traditional cave painting techniques, and authentically represent the current state of the caves, without hiding damage and conservation efforts.

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The replicas also show the lacquer painting techniques which are typically associated with Chinese and Japanese lacquerware.   In one highlight, Acolyte Bodhisattva on the North Side of the Buddha, artist Ma Ke uses natural lacquer, along with gold, silver, and other mineral pigments, to portray a standing Bodhisattva statue from the Mogao Caves with an elegant composition and lustrous finish.  With a slight smile playing upon his delicate face, this bodhisattva is one of the most distinctive and oft copied images from the caves.

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In addition to these frescos, other sacred art on view includes Huayuan’s collection of thangkas, Tibetan Buddhist paintings on fabric that depict deities, and mandalas and visually describe a deity’s realm.  Traditionally, thangkas are hung in monasteries or upon family altars, and are carried by lamas in ceremonial processions.  Originally designed to be portable mediums of spiritual communication and guides for visualization of deities, thangkas still hold great spiritual significance with Buddhist practitioners.  The name thangka is derived from thang, the Tibetan word for ‘unfolding’, which indicates the ability to be rolled up as a scroll when not in use, or for transport.  Every piece is hand-painted by Nepali lamas, with natural mineral pigments on fabric, each taking several months of meticulous work to complete.

Finally, Suzhou embroidery, the most celebrated style of Chinese silk art will be showcased through the works and a live demonstration by nationally recognized master artist Wang Lihua.  This art form is one of four main regional styles of Chinese silk art and is renowned for its use of the finest threads, elegant colors, dense stitching, and smooth finishes to create incredible detail and subtle lighting effects on stunningly realistic images reminiscent of oil paintings by the Dutch masters.

NYC to welcome ‘Year Of The Monkey’ with Lunar New Year Festival

Fireworks over the Hudson River for the Chinese Lunar New Year on Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015. (Credit: CBS2)

CBS New York/AP:

 New York City will be celebrating the Lunar New Year with a five-day festival early next month.

The Year of the Monkey Celebration” runs from Feb. 6 through Feb. 10.

The festival, presented by the China Central Academy of Fine Arts, is hosting a myriad of events, including the “The Fantastic Art China” exhibition at the Javits Center, where traditional and contemporary Chinese artworks will be showcased.

Environmental conservation efforts for monkeys in China also will be highlighted.

A Hudson River fireworks display set to the music of Oscar and Grammy Award winner Tan Dun is scheduled for Feb. 6.

The Empire State Building is also planning a light display for Feb. 6 and Feb. 8. And the New York Philharmonic’s 5th Annual Chinese New Year Concert will be held at Lincoln Center on Feb. 9.

Last June, Mayor Bill de Blasio made the Lunar New Year an official public school holiday. An estimated 15 percent of New York City school children celebrate the Lunar New Year.

Meet Sara Jane Ho, the woman teaching manners and etiquette to China’s elite

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Next Shark: 

Last month, we highlighted a short series by GQ titled The Bling Dynasty that covered China’s blossoming culture of the newly rich and the hurdles their society faces with so many instant millionaires and billionaires popping up everywhere.

One of those challenges has to do with knowing how to act rich. They are called tuhao, which roughly translates to “the rich but uncultured of China.”

Tuhao can buy luxury supercars, yachts, private jets and designer clothes like candy, but they struggle to pronounce anything in French, they don’t know how to use a fork and knife properly, how to dress fashionably or how to really spend their money, so they look to guidance from the continental culture that invented the highest form of class known — the West.

From the perspective of most Westerners (and GQ journalists), it’s almost too easy to poke fun at China’s newly rich and their peculiar idiosyncrasies, but there is a much larger context that most are either historically unaware of or unable to directly mention due to current politics.

China is one of the oldest civilizations this planet has ever seen, withstanding the test of time virtually unchanged for thousands of years. However, nearly a century ago, their imperial system had rotted from the inside out and was overthrown by a new regime. In 1949, the People’s Republic of China was established by an anti-imperialist named Mao Zedong. In 1966, he launched the Cultural Revolution, a 10-year counter-revolutionary movement that was marked by violent class struggle, street executions, labor camps, book burnings and the destruction of thousands of years’ worth of cultural treasures and knowledge. China’s old-world culture had essentially been erased, and the cult of Mao Zedong became the new school. This new culture started from nothing but proletarian struggle, and not until China’s open door policy and economic boom of the 1980s did their lack of old-world values become most apparent.

That’s where Sara Jane Ho comes in, but for business and marketing purposes, she’s simply known as Sara Jane. Educated on the American East Coast and polished at a Swiss finishing school, Ho founded the Institute Sarita, an etiquette school based in Beijing where she holds courses for China’s wealthy on how to fill the shell of elite status their newly found money has created for them.

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For about $15,000, wealthy Chinese, mostly women, take part in a 12-day course that consists of lessons like “Introduction to the Noble Sports,” “Pronunciation of Luxury Brands,” “British Afternoon Tea,” “Lingerie Lesson” and “Introduction to French Cuisine.”

We had the pleasure of interviewing Sara Jane over email, where she answered some questions about her clientele and how she is bringing old-world European class to modern China’s newly rich.

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Tell us about your background and how you ended up going to school in the U.S. and later to finishing school in Switzerland.

“I grew up in Hong Kong but felt constrained by the environment and schooling there, so as a teenager I left to attend boarding school at Phillips Exeter Academy. I felt that the States better suited my personality. I went on to Georgetown and after a stint of banking to HBS.

Some girl friends of mine had attended Swiss finishing school and I myself have always had a passion for hosting; I enjoy bringing people together and making new friends. The course at finishing school is on how to be a hostess: how to greet and take care of others, including table conversation, table seating, flower arrangement, deportment, gifting, afternoon tea, planning a menu, etc.”

What was the greatest challenge for you in growing Institute Sarita? What’s the most valuable lesson for business or dealing with people that you’ve learned since launching?

“A school is an old-fashioned business. I’m not a tech company that’s going to IPO in three years! I’m a brick and mortar kind of girl; I like laying the foundation and growing slowly but steadily. We currently have one school, in Beijing, and 80% of our clients fly from all over China just to take the course. We are very high end and a boutique, so scaling will be the greatest challenge in growing the business.

A mentor taught me that ‘in China, slow is fast.’ I decide and execute quickly – sometimes too quickly – but the highest realms of business are like taichi. Slow and deliberate. The Chinese way to deal with problems are to postpone them for as long as possible!”

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Do you feel there are facets of Chinese culture or history that may be responsible for China’s “lack” of modern etiquette?

“It’s important to remember that Chinese etiquette is thousands of years old. Confucius first taught us his values 2,600 years ago.

Recent history in China has led to some lost culture and values which we hope to bring back. Now that China is becoming an economic and political power on the global stage, Chinese need to better understand the rest of the world and let the world better understand China.

It’s also important to remember that no other country has gone through so much change in so short a time. We need to be patient.”

Do you think your courses allow your clients to “buy” class? What kind of mindset do you want your students to take away from your classes?

“Chinese are adopting a higher measure of quality of life. They have deeper desires, hold themselves to higher standards, and want to earn the respect of others – these are all indicators of social progress. My course is not for people to ‘buy’ class; etiquette is about how to put people around you at ease.”

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Do you believe successful people today exercise the amount of propriety you teach your students?

“Not necessarily! Career success does not necessarily mean one has good manners! Although manners and high EQ do help one’s career.”

Is there a single most “bad habit” you find yourself having to correct with your clients? What other behaviors perturb you the most?

“My students are actually very sophisticated and considerate individuals. I believe this is the biggest misconception of them. We are not a basic etiquette school, but rather an elegant finishing school. Princess Diana went to Swiss finishing school not to learn not to spit, but how to be a hostess and take care of others. There is no ‘bad habit’ or behavior that ‘perturbs’ me.”

It seems you teach etiquette to only female clients. What about men? Can you list off some things you think men in Chinese culture should change to follow proper etiquette?

“We have a men’s course but our specialty courses are for ladies: debutante for unmarried women and hostess for married women. If you look at finishing schools and charm schools in Switzerland or the USA, it is traditionally for women. I think all men all over the world could benefit from attending etiquette school!”

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Can you tell us about your passions outside of the world of business and etiquette?

“I have begun collecting contemporary Chinese art and am a young patron of the Ullens Centre of Contemporary Arts in Beijing.

I am also a competitive horse rider in Beijing’s show jumping circuit and competed in the Longines Masters in the National Olympic Stadium (Bird’s Nest) last year.

I find that spending time up close and personal with my horse renews my sense of wonder. When work gets busy with my school or social events, I simplify my life by spending time in nature with my horse. Riding is so old fashioned and there is a charm about it. I love the smell of the stables – it calms me and I am reminded of my childhood.”

Do you have plans to develop Institute Sarita further and expand?

“In May 2015, we will launch our second school, which will be in Shanghai. It is in a beautiful old villa in the French Concession and I am going through the plans with my designer right now. It will be a similar set-up to Beijing, with a concept store attached to the institute. So I am looking for cool products overseas to bring to the Chinese market!”

Art News: Ai Weiwei adds Porcelain “Blossom” installation to “@Large” exhibition on Alcatraz Island

SHANGHAI TANG: Jacky Tsai Cultivates “A Garden of Vibrant Dreams”

Image of SHANGHAI TANG: Jacky Tsai Cultivates "A Garden of Vibrant Dreams"

Chinese luxury label Shanghai Tang recently celebrated its 20th anniversary by teaming with artist Jacky Tsai to produce a special collection of apparel and artworks titled “A Garden of Vibrant Dreams.

Clothing and accessory options for both men and women include traditional qipao dresses, box clutches, cashmere shawls, a porcelain dining set, lifestyle dining products, iPad and iPhone cases and skateboards.

Accompanying the capsule collection is a series of six art pieces centering around a mystical dimension and a modern optimistic approach to Chinese art such as a Lotus Porcelain, Flying Tiger, Ginger Flower, Carved Dragon, Petrol Rainbow and Mix Landscape.

We were fortunate enough to meet with the artist and hear his thoughts on the milestone collaboration:

 

 

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?

I was born in Shanghai, moved to London in 2006 for my Master Degree in Central Saint Martins, after my graduation, I decided to pursue my art career here. Since then, I’ve been based in London for the past 8 years.

What are your thoughts on the intersection between fashion and art?

I think luxury fashion products are just like pieces of artwork, but only very few fashion brands can achieve a high artistic level. That’s exactly what my collaboration with Shanghai Tang is about, beautiful products with special art value behind.

How different is designing for fashion items and accessories as compared to sculptural or canvas-based art?

It’s almost the same for me as I treat fashion items as part of my art creations, the only difference is that art is a kind of self-expression, where I only listen to my own voice. But fashion is for the end users, you have to listen to the customers’ feedback, and thankfully with Shanghai Tang, I also work with a group of designers who are experts in their respective product categories who gave me a lot of guidance during the development process.

You have substantial experience working across a variety of mediums. Which medium do you feel most comfortable working within?

They are all comfortable for me, but I have to understand the craftsmanship and research a lot before I create an artwork on a specific medium, otherwise the art and medium will not be compatible.

How do you look to integrate traditional elements of Chinese art into a contemporary approach?

I believe the most of traditional Chinese art elements can be very modern, sometimes I just need to twist the colour a little bit, or adding a small western element into the traditional Chinese art painting, these traditional elements will then look very contemporary when complemented the right way.

What are some of the misconceptions of Chinese art within the greater, global art sphere?

I have to say there is too much ‘cultural revolution’ art in last 25 years that are seen or widely talked about in the global art sphere, but this is just a small part of Chinese Art, we have so many beautiful art forms that are yet to be discovered by western audience.

How was it working with Shanghai Tang and how did you approach the project?

Shanghai Tang is definitely my favourite Asian luxury brand, and I feel very privileged to work with them. The process was very smooth; we have great chemistry and understand each other so well as we have the same aesthetics. The collection completed after 9 months of hard work, but we are all very pleased with the results.

How much of your creativity and art direction is rooted in formal training versus cultural or heritage influences?

My cultural influences affect my art direction significantly. Though I’ve been living in London for 8 years, I still experience the cultural difference every day. I think subconsciously that’s a big part of the reason why I’m always doing the “East meets West” art to merge both my backgrounds together.

To get a feel for the Tsai’s visual direction for the collection, check out the video below. For more on the artist and the collaboration, head over to SHANGHAI TANG’s website.

 

 

Image of SHANGHAI TANG: Jacky Tsai Cultivates "A Garden of Vibrant Dreams"

Image of SHANGHAI TANG: Jacky Tsai Cultivates "A Garden of Vibrant Dreams"

Image of SHANGHAI TANG: Jacky Tsai Cultivates "A Garden of Vibrant Dreams"

Image of SHANGHAI TANG: Jacky Tsai Cultivates "A Garden of Vibrant Dreams"

Image of SHANGHAI TANG: Jacky Tsai Cultivates "A Garden of Vibrant Dreams"

Image of SHANGHAI TANG: Jacky Tsai Cultivates "A Garden of Vibrant Dreams"

Image of SHANGHAI TANG: Jacky Tsai Cultivates "A Garden of Vibrant Dreams"

Image of SHANGHAI TANG: Jacky Tsai Cultivates "A Garden of Vibrant Dreams"

Image of SHANGHAI TANG: Jacky Tsai Cultivates "A Garden of Vibrant Dreams"

Image of SHANGHAI TANG: Jacky Tsai Cultivates "A Garden of Vibrant Dreams"

Link

Mind-blowing modern Chinese digital art

 

Horse Training

 Source: yangyongliang.com

Broken Bridge

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Horse-Herder

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The Peach Blossom Colony

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Enjoyment of the Moonlight

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Ode to the Goddess of Luo River

Source: yangyongliang.com

Appreciation of the Waterfall

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The Mind Landscape of Xie Youyu

Source: yangyongliang.com

Lonely Angler

Source: yangyongliang.com

Source: yangyongliang.com

Source: yangyongliang.com

Source: yangyongliang.com

Source: yangyongliang.com

Source: yangyongliang.com

Source: yangyongliang.com

Source: yangyongliang.com

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Mind-blowing modern Chinese digital art