Presented by Steinhardt Global Integration Fund in collaboration with A/P/A Institute at NYU and the NYU Global Asia/Pacific Art Exchange.
This discussion will focus on ongoing artistic production on land use in global cities in a comparative conversation between artist practitioners working on gentrification issues in New York’s lower east side, the rural reconstruction movement in rural villages on the outskirts of Shanghai, and West Kowloon Cultural District and other development in Hong Kong.
The Lower East Side and Chinatown from the 1970s to the present has seen a drastic shift from art studios, grassroots arts organizations and multiple migrant communities to becoming the home of The New Museum, a new grouping of commercial art gallery spaces, and high-end condo developments. Both Chinatown and the Lower East Side has been caught in this change, and artist spaces and artists have moved and relocated to spaces such as Brooklyn.
Artist Tomie Arai’s “Portraits of New Chinatown” is a project inspired from interviews with local residents to learn about the lived experience of those within the changing community of Chinatown. Artist Bing Lee, who will participate in the program via Skype, was the founder of Epoxy Group and co-founder of Godzilla: Asian American Artist Network and lived and worked in Chinatown along with artists including Ming Fay, Kwok Frog King, Ik-Joong Kang, Arlan Huang, HN Han among others of the 1970s and 1980s Lower East Side and Chinatown arts scene. He has since moved to Brooklyn, helped co-found Tomato Grey artist collective in Hong Kong, and also has joined a rural movement in China, where he now owns a studio in a rural village outside of Shanghai. Artist Ou Ning is well known for his critical and video work on rapid development and displacement in China’s expanding cities. His work includes the founding of Bishan Commune, which is at the center of China’s rural reconstruction movement and as a countering to urban modernity. His colleague, researcher Yanhan Peng also joins this discussion. Stephen Fan, curator of the exhibition “SubUrbanisms: Casino Company Town / China Town and editor of SubUrbanisms: Casino Urbanization, Chinatowns, and the Contested American Landscape will bring the discussion of global cities to suburban America. The scholar, artist, curator Oscar Ho will bring yet another facet to this discussion, with his critical work on the development of West Kowloon Cultural District in Hong Kong. NYU scholars Nicholas Mirzoeff, whose work involves the ongoing Occupy movement and global modernities, and Thomas Looser, whose research includes work on global activism and urbanism, will join the dialogue as discussants for this program, moderated by Dipti Desai, whose work delves into art activism and community.
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Images: (left) Bishan Project at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, courtesy of Ou Ning; (center) Detail of Tomie Arai artwork for Portraits of New York Chinatown; (right) Image of Mosaic Commune Artist Residency located in the Zhujiajiao suburb of Shanghai’s Qingpu district, courtesy of Bing Lee.