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Beijing La Celeste Art Center, 7th Floor Jinbao Place No. 88 Jinbao Street, Dongcheng District | 100005 | Beijing | China
| 31.10.2010 - 16.04.2012

contemporary american imaging

Short description
Collective show in Beijing in Spring 2011 | Showing in Guangdong Province in Fall 2011 |Traveling to Hunan Normal University Gallery in early 2012

Opening ceremony | 26 March 2011

March 26 to April 16, 2011

La Celeste, Jinbao Place, Beijing, China

Curator | Ye Mu

Artist Curator | Thomas Rose, College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota



James Henkel, Gary Hallman, Monique Kuffer, Diane Willow, Joyce Lyon, Tom Debiaso, David Goldes, Joann Verburg, Paul Shambroom, Jan Estep, Diane Katsiaficas, Chris Larson, Lynn Lukkas, Tom Lane, Minna Rainio  


In contemporary Jazz and in pop culture a mash- up is the combining of seemingly, and in reality, very different forms of music or sound, resulting in surprising combinations that challenge ideas of the musical experience. This project is such a mash-up. It is, however, about the visual experience of combining, in the same space, works from different traditions and by artists who have very different agendas. The possible intersection of self referential formal structures occurring in proximity to the fluid narrative of documentary photography or of figurative abstraction is clearly out of bounds in the normative curatorial lexicon which attempts to place quotation marks or parenthesis’ around particular theories, and to box those ideas into digestible bites.  The creation of taxonomies is the role of the museum curator, this is not such an exhibition — it is an attempt to see the work as it is created and to see it in conjunction and conflict with work with different frames of reference.   Given the condition of the contemporary art world which is getting ever more digested by the continuous and growing number of biennials that seem to sift the work of multiple cultures through the Western sieve it will be challenging to the viewer to look closely.  


If there is such a thing as a post modern world, which I doubt, if one thinks of “modern” as the experience of continuous change, this would be such an experience. We are in a valueless world where each experience has its own meaning derived from its context, it is the Trickster of mythology let loose in the temple to reek havoc on our peaceful belief in unity. This is not nihilist, rather it is the realization the nothing remains the same, we evolve and in doing so are constantly challenged by new clothes made from old cloth.

We are defined by our culture, but more and more we are nomads, traveling through time and space as easily as passing through a doorway. China is a mere 12 hours from Los Angeles, ten from London, the possibility that we see and experience in ways unimaginable as little as fifty years ago. This has not brought us closer together ideologically or spiritually, but it has allowed us to see our own shortcomings more clearly. It is these shortcomings that can be the stuff of art for some — gender, body, ethnicity and identity fight for recognition alongside the art of formal aesthetics.

Rather than post modern, the American critic Arthur Danto refers to the current condition as post historical, a condition that arises when the primary motivation in the visual arts has been exhausted, that is, the solving of purely visual problems, e.g. how do you represent the three dimensional world on a two dimensional surface? The distinctions between the purely theoretical and the experiential are now driving the work of contemporary artists. The Chinese artist has been locked into a historical past and is now free to wander in this world picking and choosing as he/she pleases. The excitement for both West and East is the lack of restraint, either political or theoretical. We construct our own visions of the word and if we, as artists, are persistent we can convince someone to believe in our individual vision.

We live in an extraordinary time, a time of transition when space and time collapse and the rules change, society religion, education, the pillars of the world that we once thought solid are mobile, anxiety and ambiguity are the current condition, we can either be afraid or think it a challenge, and such is the case with this exhibition, a positive look at this new and greatly challenging world


The above proposition is the framework for the mash-up and provides the intellectual structure for the exhibition. Works will be selected by the curator in Minneapolis, Thomas Rose, artist and professor of art at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis; Mr. Muye, owner of the Beijing La Celeste Art Center, will select the Chinese work. The works will be independently selected with out the knowledge of the other. The process is intended to have unintended consequences, the knowledge that the work may be radically different in form, content and ideas and may cancel each other, is in fact our objective.

It is intended that there be a series of artist discussions which will focus on how the art speaks to a particular cultural construct, or defines a individual point of view. It would be valuable to include cultural historians and critics in these discussions as well and we welcome criticism of both our proposal and our concept. We believe the time is right for discussions on values in art and on notions of responsibility, however, we do not believe this exhibition is ideologically driven rather it is dialogic.
General information
Project state: completed
Project code: 032
Location: Beijing La Celeste Art Center, 7th Floor Jinbao Place No. 88 Jinbao Street, Dongcheng District | 100005 | Beijing | China
Project dates: 31.10.2010 to 16.04.2012
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