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Chinese art star Zhang Huan makes rare appearance in California, this time not naked

May 14, 2010 |  5:00 am


The last time that the Chinese art star Zhang Huan made a public appearance in San Francisco, just over a decade ago, he was lying face down on an uprooted tree, naked, covered with dog food. A pack of nine dogs, invited to participate in his performance, fought for the chance to lick it off. One bit the artist.

This week, Zhang flew into town from Shanghai for the dedication ceremony for "Three Heads, Six Arms": a 15-ton, two-story tall sculpture, considered the artist's largest to date, which has been installed in the plaza in front of City Hall. The San Francisco Arts Commission brought the work to town as part of its public art program and as a way of promoting a "sister city" alliance with Shanghai.

It was, to say the least, a more welcoming event. For starters, the artist was fully clothed, wearing baggy gray pants and jacket. And this time, it was a mixed crowd, with schoolchildren, a few Buddhist monks, and some prominent Chinese American business leaders in the audience and Mayor Gavin Newsom among the speakers.

But perhaps the biggest difference was the artwork itself: a child-friendly, plaza-ready sculpture, from one of China's most radical artists.

Zhang described this shift in his work, which has been the talk of the art world, during the ceremony: "I spent more than 10 years doing performance art. I was young and energetic, and I had strong hormones in my body, so I wanted to use them up. Now I'm 45, and my hormone levels are dropping."

For the full story on the three-headed sculpture, which the artist sees as both god and devil, click here.

-- Jori Finkel

Follow the writer on Twitter @jorifinkel.

Photo of Zhang Huan's "Three Arms, Six Legs" by Brian van der Brug for the Los Angeles Times.

Comments () | Archives (5)

Not bad, not bad at all. Perhaps there is some hope for the contempt generations. Well, not really, but every once in awhile some mature into adults, and start dealing with issues relevant to humanity, through nature, of god. Of our purpose in life. Not silly grandiose ones in adolescent fashion like in the studio visit article, but building on the past, adding a link to the chain, and not so arrogant and ignorant to believe they truly are creating something "new" all on their own. When truly just illustrating a facet of the multidimensional gem that is art.

credit given when due. There is hope.

art collegia delenda est

God must return to the equation, not leave the only "concept" worth discussing to the right wing to devolve, but add to in understanding through lving and feeling life, making works that create passion through the eyes and ears, not words. which are limiting and of man alone.

God is dead, Mr. Frazell. God remains dead. And we have killed him.

Spoken like an adolescent. God is not a person, it is what gives meaning to life. The lack of purpose is what has made contempt life so futile and self absorbed, and dreadfully stupid. One can only find contentment and fulfillment through being at one with humanity, nature and god, visualizing this is arts role. Which the limited lifestyle seeking artscene has abandoned, and so boring and always wanting more. For it is empty, because it has abandoned god.

Man individually is finite and soon gone. It is what he leaves behind that counts, Not the toys he has in his garage, but what affects others. For those of us who have a stake in the future, who are not so selfish and lazy and weak to not have children, who actually give a damn, well, God is very alive. I pity you dear Friedrich, for your life is a waste.

Visit the Watts Towers, pehaps you will find what you are lacking, the absence of which has been promoted in your vacuous Ivory Towers.

Fine art colleges must be destroyed.

dsl collection : A private collection focuses on Chinese Contemporary Art

What is the dsl collection?
The dsl collection was created in 2005 by Sylvain & Dominique LEVY and focuses on contemporary Chinese art. It is a private collection currently representing 110 of the leading Chinese avant-garde artists, most of whom have a major influence on the development of contemporary art in China today.
We start from a museum approach,which means that we are collecting a wide range of media including painting, sculpture, installation, photography, and video.
To choose this kind of approach implies making the collection accessible for the public, as well as documenting the featured works. The major tools to achieve these goals is the use of new technologies, such as the internet and interactive programs and supports. These tools provide the means to share the experience of contemporary culture and to make it more accessible and meaningful for a broader public.

How did we become interested in Chinese art?
The advance of globalisation, increasing cultural diversity, technological and personal mobility has had an impact on the world we address. We see the world in a different light and from a different perspective: our understanding of modernism and the Western historical tradition has been transformed by the increasing diversity of the artists and audiences we engage with, by the character of artists’ a work. China is a very good example of this new cultural world. Because of it’s 5000 years old culture and the huge transformation that it’s society is experiencing, all that remember me that Art often emerges from ferment, as in Paris in 1907 and New York in 1945.

About Collecting, how do you approach it?
“Collecting,” is not “accumulating.” and it is not “investing.” It is acquiring objects that have some relation to each other and putting those objects into the kind of order that reflects the collector’s response to them. Each true collection achieves a personality beyond and apart from the sum of the objects.
Audacity, imagination and engaging the viewers with new ways are our guide lines
We believe that the experience of engaging with the art of our own time provide insights into ourselves. It also help us to appreciate each other’s values.
Dsl collection also aims to strengthen it’s collaboration with artists.We have to promote the contribution that artists make to society through the aesthetic dimensions of their work.
The challenge for a collection in the 21st century is to find new ways of engaging with much more demanding, sophisticated and better informed viewers. Wide international access, directly or through digital media and at all levels of understanding offers the opportunity for new kinds of connecting with individuals and institutions.
What role does the Collector play?
The Collector should not take centre stage himself and should let the art itself be at the centre of the collection. Artists should be given the maximum spotlight. Its what the curator Hans Ulrich Obrist calls “the fundamental invisibility.” 

What is dsl collection focused on?
In this New Age, a private collection is also about inspiring people. Dsl collection would like to become a platform that is accessible to everybody from everywhere. A place where people can have exciting experiences, build their knowledge and actively participate. With the help of curators and critics we try to get the audience engaged and, consequently, move ideas forward and extend interest in Chinese contemporary art. 

Why is the internet platform interesting in dsl collection?
Having chosen a museum approach, we felt an obligation to make the works available to the public. The challenge of attracting audiences is hardly new. dsl collection have to admit that many brick and mortar museums for the most part are kind of hidden jewels .They do not have great foot traffic and often they are unable to exhibit many of their important works at the same time. That is why, as for showing the works we have decided upon, to primarily use technology by creating a website: dslcollection.org. Nevertheless, nothing will ever replace a direct contact between the audience and an artwork. Internet renders possible an ” EVERYBODY, EVERYWHERE, ALL THE TIME”experience 

How the dsl collection will evolve in the future?
The collection is limited to a specific number of art works - about 150 pieces – that, as an entity, is open to constant redefinition. Openness, movement and communication are basic qualities we want to promote. We shall focus more and more on education by being ever more present in China in particular. In 2010 dsl collection will be in charge of an Art Management course at the Shanghai University. 

The Collection site web
www.dslcollection.org, www.g1expo.com 

The ebook catalogue of the collection
www.dslebook.com, www.dslcollection.cn 

The 3D virtual museum of the collection

The artists of the collection
Ai Weiwei, Cao Fei,
Chen Chieh Jen,
Chen Shaoxiong, Chen Tong 
Chen Wenbo, Cui Xiuwen, 
Ding Yi, 
Du Zhenjun, 
Duan Jianyu, 
FENG Mengbo, 
Feng Qianyu, 
Gao Shiqiang, Ge Guanzhong, 
Gu Dexin, Gu Wenda, Guo Hongwei, 
He Jinwei, 
 Hu Jieming, Huang Yan,
HUANG Yong-Ping, 
Hugo Tillman, 
 Jia Aili,
Jiang Zhi, Jin Jiangbo, Kan Xuan, Leung Mee-ping, 
 Li Dafang, 
Li Ming, 
Li Qing, Li Shan,
Li Songhua,
Liang Juhui, Liang Wei, Libreria Borges,
Lim H.H.,
Lin Tianmiao,
Lin Yilin, Liu Jianhua,
Liu Rentao, Liu Wei,
Liu Weijian, Lu Hao, 
 Meng Huang, Miao Xiaochun, 
Pei Li, Peng Hungchi,
Qiu Anxiong, 
Qiu Jingtong, Qiu Shihua, 
Qiu Zhijie, 
Rong Rong, 
 Shao Fan,
Shen Yuan, 
Sheng Qi, Shu Lea Cheang, 
Song Kun, 
 Sun Lei, Sun Xun ,
Sun Yuan and Peng Yu ,
Tie Ying, Wang Keping, 
Wang Du,
Wang Gongxin, Wang Guangyi, Wang Jianwei,
Wang Jin, Wang Qingsong, Wang Xingwei, 
Wu Shanzhuan and Inga..., Wu Yiming, Xu Tan,
Xu Zhen,Yan Lei, Yang Fudong, Yang Jiechang Yang Zhenzhong, YangYong,
Ye Nan,
Yin Zhaoyang, Yu Aishan , Yu Youhan,
Yuan Yuan,
Yuan Yuan,
Zeng Fanzhi,
Zhan Wang, Zhang Dali, 
Zhang Ding,
Zhang Enli,
Zhang Huan,
Zhang Peili, Zheng Chongbin,
Zheng Guogu,
Zheng Yunhan,
Zhou Ming, 
Zhou Tao,
Zhou Tiehai, Zhu Fadong, Zhu Jia

Nice recap and preview. You can see more of this artist's work at http://www.stelleluna.com


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