Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Revolution Will Be Shared Online

As I type this in a part of the world where people are debating the legitimacy of pumpkin spice lattes (they’re nasty—you’re welcome), teen activists are waking up on highways in Hong Kong. The fifth day of the Occupy Central pro-democracy protests has begun. There, it’s the morning of October 1 (time zones? time travel) and mainland China’s National Day, which could spell a turning point for the Umbrella Revolution.

The protests hit close to home. Literally. You can read about my ties to H.K. in “King of Kowloon” and “Pearl,” but, in a nutshell (and in my bio), I am the American-born only child of Hong Kong immigrants. I often wonder what my life would be like—what I would be like—if my parents didn’t have to come to the U.S. (Perhaps I often hear Hong Kong calling to me because, in an infinite expanse of parallel universes, I am already there.)

One of my uncles in Hong Kong is a former schoolteacher. My cousins there are all students, much like the young revolutionaries galvanizing the movement. When I look at photos and watch videos of the protestors, I see brothers and sisters. I see myself.

Unsurprisingly, artists have been creating a lot of powerful images (a few of my favorites embedded above). Revolution inspires art, and art inspires revolution.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Press your space face close to mine, love

Jessica Stockholder, Once Upon a Time,
Kavi Gupta Gallery. Expo Chicago 2014.

Happy last day of summer! (To the Southern Hemisphere-rs, happy almost-spring!) But tomorrow isn’t just the autumnal equinox; it’s also David Bowie Day in Chicago. (Seriously.)

Bodysuit by Kansai Yamamoto, worn on tour.
David Bowie Is, Museum of Contemporary Art

Expo Chicago, the International Exposition of Contemporary and Modern Art, returned for its third year this past weekend, and the internationally touring David Bowie Is exhibition opens at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago tomorrow. I had the pleasure of previewing both.

The pivotal performance of "Starman" on Top of the Pops.
David Bowie Is, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

As previously implied, I’m a big Bowie fan. And that’s an understatement. Like, I’m not much of a jewelry person, but I wore a Ziggy Stardust/Aladdin Sane necklace every. single. day from 2010-2012 (until I accidentally broke it—pictured further down in this post is the pendant); I have a Goblin King prayer candle (yeah…); etc. And last Friday, I got to be one of the first to see David Bowie Is in the U.S. (Insert weeping / raised hands in exultation emojis here.)

"Life on Mars?" David Bowie Is, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

What impressed me most was the show’s synthesis of art and technology. Before entering, you’re given headphones and a receiver. The exhibit contains 25 “display zones,” each of which has its own audio stream broadcast through transmitters that are mapped to the exhibit’s floor plan. Once you walk towards a different display, the corresponding audio stream activates. A brilliant way to avoid sound bleed, it’s in keeping with Bowie’s own embrace of cutting edge technology.

Yep, brought [part of] my Ziggy Stardust/Aladdin Sane necklace.
David Bowie Is, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

The exhibition is a celebration of creativity, of creation. It’s a fully immersive experience. That’s art.

Knitted catsuit by Kansai Yamamoto, worn on tour.
David Bowie Is, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

David Bowie Is opens at the MCA tomorrow, September 23, and will be up through January 4, 2015. More of my photos from Expo Art Week can be viewed on Instagram.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Art Decade

This week sees the return of Expo Chicago, the International Exposition of Contemporary and Modern Art, and, by extension, Expo Art Week. (You can read my interviews with Expo’s President and Director, Tony Karman, here, here, and here.) Before they open to the public, I’ll get to preview the fair and other shows, including the highly anticipated David Bowie Is exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago—and when I say “highly anticipated” I mean by me, at the very least (what, I haven’t been counting down for the past year and month and a half I tell you while blasting “The Width of a Circle” on repeat)—so follow along on Instagram and Twitterwhere Ill be sharing my highlights as I did with Art Basel Hong Kong.

Model of Studio Gang Architects' installations for Expo Chicago 2014.
(Image courtesy of Exposition Chicago.)

The fall art season is upon us!

[Edited to add: And congratulations to the Art Institute of Chicago for being voted “#1 Museum in the World” on TripAdvisor!]

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