Saturday, March 10, 2012

The rough thoughts of the L.A. trip… there are so many places full of inspirations and we did not have enough time to digest at that time! Yet i love the contents as it feels like brainstorming, and some ideas and thoughts came to my mind afterwards.

The first show 'under the big black sun' for me is more about the main issues in a specific time period. the most impressive piece for me is the wall which was built with canvases. the time theme is around the 70ths and 80ths in last century. Fall of Saigon, Mao, John Lennon, Pope paul, Cultural Revolution, Jim Jones, Iran, and cairo,Egypt. All of these featured as the key words of that era. I was amazed by Chris Burden's piece about bomb which simply using matches and quarters to represent the idea. He always surprised me.

Here I would like to concentrate on the scenes behind the exhibition.

The biggest harvest and most interesting inspiration for me is the talk by Dan Cameron at the very end of our trip. his sharing about how an exhibition formed and then take care of every little detail in the show. Prospect New Orleans, the largest national biennial, which Dan used to illustrate his mind and experiences, connected all the individual dots to a larger content to me. Also the idea to have Prospect 1, premiered in 2008 and the second, Prospect 2 opened in this Oct.

his points about how the city revived after Katrina really made me think a lot. art is supposed to be a form to express human's emotional expressions and experiences. an exhibition rarely presented itself as a reminder to the outside world that New Orleans has experienced such a horrible disaster and how the city picked itself up bit by bit, little by little. one of the obstacle for this project is that the second installment was postponed in 2010 because of funding constraints. this made me want to shed my tears. for me projects like this should be supported by the state and the city. as it is not only an art event. six years after a disaster like Katrina, which destroyed everything in the community, the biennial is more about how people revive after Katrina left. at the same time attentions are drawn to pay upon the cultures and people there. just as Dan said, there are a lot of great local artists but people seldom know them. Prospect New Orleans 1.5, which focuses on new and old local New Orleans artists and their works, is the most meaningful concept to me. I read the concept behind this biennial is to draw people's attention and care to this local community who have suffered Katrina. in this case the pieces and ideas by the local artists are very vital. in a larger content it might assist in building the community anew. what's more, culturally speaking, other societies can take this opportunity to gain knowledges about what's going on within the 'community'. and also, Prospect functions as a mirror, reflecting different aspects of the community, making the audience to rethink people and cultures there. I think this is pretty crucial, and for me this kind of thoughts behind the show is really interesting and inspiring.

This actually could be the answer to the question 'does art have a rule to play' in the talk with Dan Cameron. Just break the rule. Stand out then you can be outstanding, especially in the field of art. I think a biennial like Prospect New Orleans is different. it is not just about art itself, but about your feeling of the surrounding world, and people that you care. Brought people's attention to the community, by using art as the trigger.

The LA trip made me think more about the scenes behind exhibitions. I am getting a clearer picture of curatorial practice. I used to feel curious about how everything put together and why the theme of the show would be like this or like that. I guess curating an exhibition sometimes might feel like marketing to some extent. As the theme of the show is the belief to be expressed. and the message would be delivered. From the perspective of curator, everything tiny little thing should be considered and took care of. Just like the first exhibition we saw in the trip, 'under the big black sun', theming in the year 1974-1981. Then this is our chance to rethink history. and Dan's stories about how culture gets changed when exported lead me to think exhibitions in a larger content. all these little thoughts about exhibitions made me extremely looking forward to meeting the curators in New York!!

Bingjie Li

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