Yue Min Jun



Beijing – Some Contemporary Art Zones
Beijing is a major global art centre. Visiting one of its numerous contemporary art zones will suit many tastes and pockets.

Chinese artists , such as Zhang Xiagong, Zeng Fanzhi and Ai Weiwei, are well known figures in the contemporary art world. The Chinese art market is massively important, with auction prices, though below their peak, tending to hold better than in the West.

There is still a huge body of art investors in mainland China, mostly from the trading and finance centres of Southern China. However, the artists and associated galleries tend to be based in Beijing, the traditional intellectual centre of China.

Famously, Meg Maggio of Pékin Fine Arts, interviewed for Wallpaper Magazine*, reported that there were too many Beijing Art Districts for her to enumerate. However, a general consensus would focus on 798 Art Zone, Art Today Museum and International Art Plaza and Caochangdi Village.

Each of these has a different ambiance, to some extent,a different purpose. Taken, though, as a group, the offer is art and handcraft for all tastes and all pockets. Equally, if all you wish to do is stroll around, chat with artists and gallery owners, take in coffee or a meal, that’s fine.

If purchasing, the keynote in today’s volatile market, and given the difficulties of valuing contemporary Chinese art, is to buy for pleasure. The frothy days have gone. Your few dollars are unlikely to buy you into the next Yue Minjun, but was that, pre-Saatchi, supposed to be the point of art patronage?

798 Art Zone

798 Art Zone, also known as Dashanzi Art Zone, is located on an ex-industrial site of vast proportions that was a full campus for workers, who both lived and worked here, so such elements as kindergartens were included. China’s first atomic bomb was developed here.

The campus was rich in many types of buildings, small and large. Factory 798 gave its name to the new Art Zone

798 is a major zone and presence in Beijing’s burgeoning art world. It contains a huge number of galleries, artists’ galleries, artists’ studios, handcraft and bookshops, not to mention innumerable restaurants, cafes and coffee shops.

Such famed galleries as Ullens Center For Contemporary Art are based here. Guy and Myriam Ullens, two Belgian art collectors, own one of the world’s largest collections of contemporary Chinese art.

Another major presence is 798 Space, located in the original 798 factory building. The space is extensive, the building Bauhaus-style, with curved roof. Some original factory machinery has been kept, together with Mao worker slogans that adorned the workspace.

My preference is for the smaller galleries and spaces. This ex-industrial area can feel like it’s now retailing art on an industrial scale. In fact, the campus is so art-rich that it’s easy to forget that the sculpture you are leaning against is an artwork.

A favourite of mine is Summit Art Space, a place where you can enter real discussion, particularly around main artist Zhang Bin, whose work is all self-portrait, in the tradition, if not style, of Yue Minjun. The bookshop here is, also, particularly valuable.

Another favourite is Fang Min Gallery, run by the artist. Fang Min is a zealous proponent of Buddhism, his paintings often exploring tolerance. It’s a must-see, but very little English is spoken here.

The smaller galleries bring back the intimacy of space and shared experience. It is good to talk at length with gallery owners that have a deep knowledge of their artists. In some cases you may speak with the artists themselves.

Art Today Museum and International Art Plaza

Today Art Museum is housed in an ex-brewery by the railway tracks in south-east Beijing. There’s something about the location that makes it feel cutting-edge.

The museum was inaugurated in 2006 with an exhibition of Fang Lijun’s work. It houses a permanent exhibition, albeit of on-loan items, and holds temporary exhibitions. There is an excellent bookstore, restaurant and souvenir shop, the whole redolent of Tate Modern. There’s also an art club and workshop facilities.

Art Today Museum was the brainchild of property developer Zhang Baoquan. As such, it is set in the Pingod Community of new apartment buildings, but wherein International Art Plaza is being developed.

The list of art galleries, boutiques, bars and bistros is endless.

Worthy of particular mention is Emily de Wolfe Petit’s Atkins and Ai Gallery, which works with both established and up-and-coming artists. There have been fascinating solo exhibitions of the work of Jiang Shan Chun and J S Tan. “Fantasia in Ink Major” featured the work of the young ink artists Qu Weiwei and Li Yongfei.

Caochangdi Village

When, in 1999, Ai Wewei, the colossus of Chinese contemporary art, established his studio and the Chinese Art and Archives Warehouse in Caochangdi Village, a former agricultural commune, he set a trend. In fact, Ai Weiwei also designed or built many of the other studios and galleries in the area.

Caochangdi is a purposeful area of scattered ex-industrial buildings and new additions, much less visitor friendly than, say, 798. Don’t visit for the bistros.

Any survey of Caochangdi must suggest a visit to Ai Weiwei’s own Chinese Art and Archives Warehouse. It focuses on cutting-edge young Chinese artists. Opening is 1pm to 6pm, Wednesday to Sunday.

Other major galleries are Pékin Fine Arts and F2 Gallery, which include Western artists. Galerie Urs Meile is also involved with Western, as well as Chinese artists; and offers an artist in-residence programme for Western artists. Three Shadows Photography Art Centre is, arguably, Beijing’s leading venue for fine art photography.

Location and Getting There

798 Art Zone, Jiuxianqiao Lu, Chaoyang District, Beijing: Take Subway Line 10 to Sanyuanqiao Station. Take Exit B for 401 bus or taxi.

Art Today Museum and International Art Plaza, Pingod Community, Baiziwan Lu, Chaoyang District, Beijing: Take Subway Line 10 to Shuangjing Station. Take Exit B, ignoring Exit B1 as you ascend. You come up by Mr Pizza. Turn right and walk 50 metres. You are now at Shuanjing Bridge; and may take a taxi. Alternatively, now turn right along Dongsanhuan Zhonglu (signposted Middle Road of 3rd Ring Road), walking for circa 900 metres. You now make a right turn into Baiziwan Lu, the complex being on the right side of the road, after a short walk.

Caochangdi Village, Chaoyang District, Beijing: As per 798 Art Zone. Take taxi from Sanyuanqiao Station. Remember, taxis back can be difficult.

* Wallpaper, June 15, 2009
Source: resourcesforwriters.suite101.com/article/beijing—some-contemporary-art-zones-a402014

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Exhibition Watch: Yue Minjun, “The Tao Of Laughter” (Hong Kong)
By Jing Daily
Published: September 24, 2012 6 likes9 tweets1 pin
Exhibition Runs Through October 24 At Harbour City

Yue Minjun “The Tao of Laughter” (Image: Yahoo)
Hong Kong’s swish Harbour City mall has long been a popular destination for brand-obsessed shoppers from mainland China, but through October 24 the mall is home to some very different visitors from up north: a set of new sculptures by artist Yue Minjun. His first-ever public art exhibition in the city, Yue’s “The Tao of Laughter” exhibition includes five of Yue’s iconic “smiling man” sculptures, showing in the mall’s forecourt at the same time as an auxiliary exhibition of 12 silk-screened prints by the artist at Gallery by the Harbour.
According to the Wanderlister, Yue’s exhibition is the latest example of a high-end Hong Kong mall working with high-profile artists to increase its “catchment factor.” With competition among major shopping centers in Hong Kong becoming increasingly fierce, standing out is not only important, it’s crucial:
A big shopping trend in Hong Kong in these days is the “catchment factor”. Catchment factor is the ability for a business to bring in consumers from all walks of life to spend a majority of the hours in a day at their malls, shopping centers, etc. With a lack of cultural venues in the city at the moment, shopping malls like Time[s] Square and Harbour City have been trying hard to make use of their spaces to up Catchment Factor with high profile art exhibitions, which in the West would be located in museums and high galleries.
Creator of some of the most instantly recognizable works of Chinese contemporary art over the past two decades, 2012 has been a busy year for Yue Minjun. Preceding the current exhibition in Hong Kong, 25 of Yue Minjun’s Warriors were installed this summer at LongHouse Reserve in East Hampton, New York, while the artist is set to have his first first major European exhibition at Foundation Cartier in Paris this November.
Yue Minjun, “The Tao of Laughter”
From September 20 – October 23, 2012
Ocean Terminal Forecourt, Harbour City
3 – 27 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Yue Minjun Silk-Screen Exhibition
September 20 – October 14, 2012
Gallery by the Harbour
Shop 207, Ocean Centre, Harbour City (near Fendi)
Source: http://www.jingdaily.com/exhibition-watch-yue-minjun-the-tao-of-laughter-hong-kong/21063/
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Another article:
Artist Yue Minjun: Sometimes All You Can Do Is Laugh
By Jing Daily
Published: October 12, 2012 9 likes14 tweets1 pin
Artist’s First Hong Kong Public Sculpture Exhibition Runs Through October 23

Yue Minjun, “Isolated Island,” (2010) (detail)
Currently exhibiting his first Hong Kong show of public sculpture at Harbour City, Beijing-based artist Yue Minjun’s stature in the contemporary Chinese art world has yet to diminish after nearly 20 years in the game. A leading figure in the wave of Chinese contemporary art that flourished in the early 1990s, as Chinese art saw its first “boom” in the early 2000s Yue — like contemporaries such as Zhang Xiaogang, Wang Guangyi and Zhang Huan — not only became very wealthy, but also a high-profile player in the international art world. By 2007, Yue’s landmark work Execution became the most expensive work by a contemporary Chinese artist at the time, selling for 2.9 million pounds (US$4.66 million) at Sotheby’s London. Also in 2007, Yue’s global clout was further boosted by by his first museum show in the United States at the Queens Museum of Art in New York City.
After the global financial crisis took many previously dominant Western buyers out of the Chinese contemporary art market, new Chinese collectors picked up the slack by turning to blue-chip artists such as Yue to build up their nascent collections. This has stayed true even as the Chinese art market has seen a calming in the wake of its “second boom” in 2010-2011, with Chinese collectors picking and choosing only the best and most important pieces at auction while ignoring lesser lots. At the most recent installment Sotheby’s Contemporary Asian Art auction in Hong Kong, all three Yue Minjun works up for grabs found buyers, with his 2002 work “Faith” beating high estimates to sell for HK$2.18 million (US$281,218).

Yue Minjun “The Tao of Laughter” (Image: Yahoo)
However, in recent years Yue’s sculptures have been among his most visible works internationally. This year, 25 of Yue Minjun’s Warriors were installed at LongHouse Reserve in East Hampton, New York, while the artist’s sculpture “A-maze-ing Laughter” was installed for permanent exhibition in Vancouver, and — most recently — five of Yue’s iconic “smiling man” sculptures and 12 silk-screened prints went on show at the aforementioned Hong Kong exhibition. Next month, the artist is set to have his first major European exhibition at Foundation Cartier in Paris.
As his “Tao of Laughter” show in Hong Kong enters its last two weeks, recently Yue spoke to the Hong Kong Tatler about his art and the deeper — and darker — meanings behind his symbolic smile. From the interview:
Source: http://www.jingdaily.com/artist-yue-minjun-sometimes-all-you-can-do-is-laugh/21487/
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Yue Min Jun “The Tao of Laughter” @ Ocean Terminal, Harbour City Recap Pt. 2
September 25, 2012 ⋅ Arts ⋅ by Staff ⋅ 1858 Views
Chinese contemporary artist Yue Min Jun returns to Hong Kong’s Harbour City to showcase his third-ever exhibition containing five brand new sculptures as well as 12 new silk-screened artworks. Yue’s iconic “Laughing Man” has become almost ubiquitous around Hong Kong and has become widely recognizable throughout the world. This recent acquisition continues the recent trend in Hong Kong of being a center for Chinese artwork both classic and contemporary – most notably Uli Sigg’s $163 million donation to M+ museum. Leading China’s “cynical realist” movement, Yue’s new exhibition continues the trend – most blatantly in a sculpture depicting a man laughing whilst covering his eyes. Its location in Harbour City – even more forthright – is painfully ironic and, thus, further strengthens Yue’s artwork. The silkscreen exhibition will remain open until October 14, 2012, while the sculptures – “The Tao of Laughter” – can be seen until October 23, 2012.

Photography: Hypebeast
Source: http://hypebeast.com/2012/09/yue-min-jun-the-tao-of-laughter-ocean-terminal-harbour-city-recap-pt-2/
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Yue Min Jun “The Tao of Laughter” @ Ocean Terminal, Harbour City Recap Pt. 1
September 24, 2012 ⋅ Arts ⋅ by Staff ⋅ 1202 Views
One of China’s preeminent contemporary artists Yue Min Jun recently showcased his “The Tao of Laughter” exhibition at Ocean Terminal, Harbour City in Hong Kong. Consisting of five brand new sculptures and several paintings, they are each highlighted with the power of laughter in order to gain inner peace when confronted by society’s problems. “The Tao of Laughter” runs through October 23.

Photography: Hypebeast

Tags: art, exhibitions, harbour city, yue min jun
Source: http://hypebeast.com/2012/09/yue-min-jun-the-tao-laughter-ocean-terminal-harbour-city-recap/
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What’s Happening at the Milwaukee Art Museum: July 11-July 17
Posted on July 11, 2011 by Kristin Settle

Contemporary Chinese Warriors, Yue Minjun, 2006
Welcome to another sweltering week in Milwaukee, with big things happening at the Museum.

Have you seen the latest installation in the Summer of CHINA series? It’s called Contemporary Chinese Warriors and it’s by Chinese artist Yue Minjun. The 26 satirical statues are located in the Museum’s Contemporary Galleries, on the Main Level.

Also this week, there’s Gallery Talks and Express Talks on Way of the Dragon and The Emperor’s Private Paradise.

For those of you heading to Bastille Days in Cathedral Square, be sure to stop at the Kohl’s Color Wheels van for some make-and-take art fun for the kids.

And don’t forget, Sunday, July 17 is Kohl’s Art Generation Family Sundays: Chinese Treasures, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Bring the whole family down (kids 12 and under are FREE) and enjoy music, dance, and more.

Summer is already half-over, so stop in today to experience the Summer of CHINA before it closes. The Museum is open seven days a week, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (8 p.m. on Thursdays) through Labor Day.

Kristin Settle: PR Manager for the Milwaukee Art Museum, otherwise referred to as Museum cheerleader.
Source: http://blog.mam.org/2011/07/11/whats-happening-at-the-milwaukee-art-museum-july-11-july-17/
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Yue Minjun ‘Warriors’ Visit East Hampton’s LongHouse Reserve
Entering the LongHouse Reserve garden in East Hampton last month, The Observer was greeted by 25 identical bronze figures that smiled maniacally as they covered their ears and scrunched their eyes. Collectively titled Chinese Contemporary Warriors, they comprise a 2005 work by Chinese contemporary artist Yue Minjun and are the latest addition to the art-filled 16-acre arboretum.

“Every season we try to bring in four or five new pieces, or bring one site-specific installation,” LongHouse’s executive director, Matko Tomicic, said, “and this came to us as an opportunity.” The first work of Chinese contemporary art ever installed at LongHouse, it is on loan from a private collector and debuted at LongHouse’s benefit in July, installed as in the photographs. Since then it’s been moved to another location in the garden, where it officially debuted this past weekend.

Mr. Yue’s installation is just one of about 90 works at LongHouse, which includes pieces by Roy Lichtenstein, Isamu Noguchi, Erich Fischl, Yoko Ono and other 20th- and 21st-century notables. Though the garden owns some of the works on view, it borrows most of them for about two or three years. But sometimes there are exceptions, as is the case with a posthumously constructed Buckminster Fuller geodesic dome from 1998. “The Bucky Fuller dome was really only supposed to be here for a few years,” Mr. Tomicic said. “Now it’s been more than 10.”
Source: http://galleristny.com/2012/08/yue-minjun-warriors-visit-east-hamptons-longhouse-reserve/
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YUE MINJUN EXHIBITED AT THE SAATCHI GALLERY
Immediately humorous and sympathetic, Yue Minjun’s paintings offer a light-hearted approach to philosophical enquiry and contemplation of existence. Drawing connotations to the disparate images of the Laughing Buddha and the inane gap toothed grin of Alfred E. Newman, Yue’s self-portraits have been describe by theorist Li Xianting as “a self-ironic response to the spiritual vacuum and folly of modern-day China.”

Often basing his compositions on well known European masterpieces and iconic Chinese art, Yue subverts the grandiose aura of art history through his adaptation of pop aesthetics. Using both the exaggerated expressiveness of cartooning and the stylistic rendering of graphic illustration, Yue depicts his cloned doppelgangers as contorted and grotesque, all scalded pink skin and maniacal toothy cackles.

The acidic tones and commercialised vacuity of his works are used to underscore the insincerity of his figures’ mirth. As both antagonists and anti-heroes, Yue’s hysterical cohorts equally bully the viewer and stand as subjects of ridicule. Using laughter as a denotation of violence and vulnerability, Yue’s paintings balance a zeitgeist of modern day anxiety with an Eastern philosophical ethos, positing the response to the Immediately humorous and sympathetic, Yue Minjun’s paintings offer a light-hearted approach to philosophical enquiry and contemplation of existence. Drawing connotations to the disparate images of the Laughing Buddha and the inane gap toothed grin of Alfred E. Newman, Yue’s self-portraits have been describe by theorist Li Xianting as “a self-ironic response to the spiritual vacuum and folly of modern-day China.”

Often basing his compositions on well known European masterpieces and iconic Chinese art, Yue subverts the grandiose aura of art history through his adaptation of pop aesthetics. Using both the exaggerated expressiveness of cartooning and the stylistic rendering of graphic illustration, Yue depicts his cloned doppelgangers as contorted and grotesque, all scalded pink skin and maniacal toothy cackles.

The acidic tones and commercialised vacuity of his works are used to underscore the insincerity of his figures’ mirth. As both antagonists and anti-heroes, Yue’s hysterical cohorts equally bully the viewer and stand as subjects of ridicule. Using laughter as a denotation of violence and vulnerability, Yue’s paintings balance a zeitgeist of modern day anxiety with an Eastern philosophical ethos, positing the response to the true nature of reality as an endless cynical guffaw.
Source: saatchi-gallery.co.uk/artists/yue_minjun.htm