shu and joe

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September 27, 2007

Pleasantly surprised by what I heard at MAO Live House last night. After catching the end of New Pants power-pop set, I ran into James Chang, who happened to be VJing the next act. He seemed pretty confident that it would be worth hanging around for – turned out he was right! IGO is a new collaboration between B6, a well-know electro dj from Shanghai, and vocalist JJay, who sings in English and has clearly studied at the alter of Dave Gahan. Throughout the show I was reminded of Red Flag – another Depeche Mode disciple that played big, catchy hooks and danceable melodies, but never quite stepped out of the shadow of its influencers. These aren’t sounds you haven’t heard before, but they are fun, well produced and refreshingly not in line with Beijing’s largely punk-based music output. They’ve got a few tracks on their MySpace page. Give em a listen.

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After nearly 7 years in the game at Ogilvy, Dirk is off to greener (in Beijing?) pastures. The office said good-bye at the new Yugong Yishan (which is still a work n progress – excited to see how the new outdoor area shapes up). Cheers Dirk!

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Moon Festival

September 25, 2007

I’ve really come to like the 3 Shadows Photo Center. I’ve been a fan of its mission, its exhibitions and its founder since my first visit, but after spending some time there, I’ve really grown to appreciate the space itself. Designed by Ai Weiwei, the construction is simple: large brick boxes that form a triangular central courtyard. It’s the details that stand out though. The random pattern of extruded brick on the facade, for example, lends the exterior an organic appeal, like cliff walls full of hand-holds for the brave free climber.

I’m also fond of the way Rong Rong and Zhao Liang have worked to develop the space into a “center” – a place not just for viewing art on a wall, but for gathering, relaxing, reading (the photo library contains, possibly, the largest collection of international photography books in Beijing) and working (a photo lab is in process).

Last night the center played host to a special Moon Festival opera performance, a yuebing tasting and the launching of fire lanterns. It was an ideal late-summer night to spend outside – the smog parted and the full moon promised an auspicious fall season.

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Cotton in Art

September 20, 2007

Last night was the opening of the 2007 DIAF and the Cotton in Art exhibition at the 798 Space. It was largely a media affair, due to the presence of Cotton USA spokes model Zhou Xun, but that left plenty of room to look at the work and meet the other artists in the exhibition. Thanks to Jiang Jian for organizing and inviting us to participate!

Gu Wei’s massive soft cave.

Lulu’s instructional flip books

Our photo piece.

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SH Contemporary

September 18, 2007

A little late with this posting. The first Shanghai Contemporary Art Fair took place earlier this month, so we dropped in for a few days to see what was on hand, and to welcome Nick Simunovic to his new home (which sounds pretty nice – a low-lying house nestled in the treetops of the French Concession!).

The fair had already been open for a few days by the time we got to town, so most of the serious buyers had come and gone. Saturday morning proved to be more of a family day – babies in strollers, kids posing for photos with (and occasionally on) their favored works, grandparents casually absorbing the scene. The Shanghai Convention Center was packed with galleries from near and far, with offerings from local heavyweights like Gu Dexin and Zheng Guogu, and international crowd pleasers like Rikrit Tiravanija and Erwin Wurm. Wurm’s large canvases fitted with out-sized sweaters and polo shirts was one of the highlights of the exhibition for me. His work balances aesthetic appeal, humor and intellectual substance in a way that seems almost casual. And that makes me like him.

Another highlight of the show was discovering a few of Andrew Kuo’s latest pieces on display. Delicate, exacting work. Nice.

Photo ops.

Not by Erwin Wurm, but seemingly inspired.

Rikrit Tiravanija’s interactive rice silo.

A Gursky-esque scene at the fair.

Lonely Panton chair on Urumqi Lu.

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DIAF 2007

September 17, 2007

The 2007 Dashanzi International Art Festival begins this Thursday, September 20. Shu and I have been invited to participate in an exhibition that will be showing in the 798 Space. Anyone interested, please come by Thursday night and check it out.

Here’s a preview pic of our project:

The making of:

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Anish Kapoor

September 16, 2007

at Galleria Continua

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