Greg Hunter

Asia Pacific Contemporary Art Fair

In Generic Culture on September 12, 2009 at 4:30 PM

Screen shot 2009-09-12 at 9.36.34 PM 9-12-09

It seems every city these days has some biennial or annual art fair. Holding out the mirage of international exposure, jet setting benefactors, and celeb artists in its painted hand, the typical art fair’s actual art often gets lost in the excitement over the event. Cities have approached the biennial in different unique ways. When New Orleans held their first Biennial, besides acknowledging the shameless urban promotion of the event, the organizers anchored the event’s art in New Orleans devastated landscape—to see the art you had to explore New Orleans and seek out old buildings.  Other smaller cities, like St. Louis, have taken this local route and been successful. If you can’t beat the big boys, they seemed to argue, don’t even try to race with them.

THE Asia Pacific Contemporary Art Fair in Shanghai this past weekend took the opposite strategy. Instead of attempting to sum and express the idiosyncrasies of a particular city, ShContemporary celebrated the state of contemporary art for an entire hemisphere. I guess when you’re one of the largest cities on Earth, you get certain prerogatives smaller cities don’t get to take.

The state of Asian Contemporary Art can be summarized in one word: Play. I can’t think of one gallery that didn’t include at least one or two pieces that had playful colors, playful concepts, playful and obvious references to other works. Talking to one curator, she even honestly called her galleries offerings “ironic.” Not “’ironic,’” but just “ironic.” Instead of continuing to talk, I’ll just lead you through a tour of what I thought was the best of this playful fair.

FUCK… Okay. I have a long list of artists I wanted to talk about, grouped together elegantly. Unfortunately there are so many Huang Min’s and Liang Yin Wang’s that searching for their work is next to impossible. China, get a better more unique naming system, please! I’ll just include some pictures below of cool images that I was actually able to find. DAMN.

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