THE FLYING DRAGON: Tradition & Innovation in Chinese Art

January 22 – April 13, 2008

Gallery Talk, and Reception
Thursday, January 24

Curated by:
Yoo-Jong Kim

The Flying Dragon: Tradition & Innovation in Chinese Art explores transformations and developments within the history of Chinese art over a period of almost 2500 years.

The historical works selected for this exhibition include ceramic wares from the Warring States Period (475 – 221 BC) of the Zhou dynasty (ca. 1100-256 BC), one of the earliest historic epochs of China;  archaic ritualistic bronzes and elegant secular art of the Han Dynasty (206 BC – AD 220); playful and imaginative funerary sculptures from the Tang Dynasty (618-907); an elegant, high-fired Meiping from of the Song Dynasty (960-1279); works reflecting the importance of the literati from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644); and bold and colorful decorative arts of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). By the Tang period, China was a cosmopolitan meeting place of world cultures.  The luxury afforded China with the wealth of the silk routes is reflected in the bountiful form and attitude of terra-cotta “Fat Lady.”


Curator Yoo-Jong Kim: “These ’classical’ Chinese works of art are juxtaposed in this exhibition with the works of living artists of Chinese heritage to evoke the primary focus of the exhibition: the exciting dialogue between China’s artistic past and its present. How do living Chinese artists draw on their past, how much do they intentionally depart from it?  Is visual legacy a burden or an advantage for these artists?  Can their dialogue with history and tradition be discerned clearly as they strive to meet the exigencies of contemporary art? The artists’ seemingly paradoxical and counter-intuitive ways of looking back to the past as they forge ahead form the core of this exhibition and its pairings of ancient and contemporary artistic sensibilities and perspectives. The continuity of spirit and tradition of Tang dynasty poetry is still embraced in the wild and personal calligraphic style of Nora Shih.  She uses the infinite shades and ‘colors’ of ink to great interpretive effect.  The irony of “making” a scholar rock with traces of memory imprinted on the object is an aspirant effort by Hilda Shen.  She strives to ‘represent the significance or insignificance of man’s attempt to control nature and to make visible what is invisible.’  The psychological awareness and exhaustive search for identity is examined in the testimonial of the refined, formal photographic works of Reagan Louie.  The mysterious and feminine iconography of super-natural beasts and their relationship with humankind is explored by Mary Ting in her intricate and imposing installations.”

Curator Yoo-Jong Kim is the curator of the Walter Randel Gallery in New York. She was a Jacoby Presidential Scholar at Columbia University where she graduated in the first co-educational class of Columbia College.  After receiving her BA degrees in East Asian Studies and Western Art History, she traveled extensively in Europe and studied art history in Rome, Barcelona and Paris with the support of the Das Traveling Fellowship. Yoo-Jong Kim worked on the first permanent public installation of Korean art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art from 1986-1987.  Born in Seoul, South Korea, she attended the Robert Louis Stevenson School in Pebble Beach, CA. She is currently a New York contributor to ART & living magazine and is working on her first book Poets and Pictures, a work illustrating the Horatian simile Ut Pictura Poesis.