Glenn Brown's Dark Angel (for Ian Curtis) after Chris Foss (2002) (© Glenn Brown and Courtesy Galerie Max Hetzler)
The bands New Order and Joy Division are inextricably bound with Manchester, with their music an integral part of the northern citys cultural heritage and identity since the 1970s. The exhibition True Faith at Manchester Art Gallery (until 3 September) looks at the impact of the two groups on contemporary artists such as Mark Leckey, Barbara Kruger, Glenn Brown, Jeremy Deller and Julian Schnabel. True Faith is rooted in the social and cultural histories, and the psychological geography of Manchester itself, writes the co-curator Matthew Higgs in the exhibition catalogue. The show includes Peter Savilles cool, crisp album cover artwork for New Order and Joy Division (Factory Records label). The record sleeves draw on a vast range of influences: Movement (Factory Album, 1981) is inspired by the Italian Futurist artist Fortunato Deperos poster for the 1932 exhibition Futurismo Trentino. 

The German-Egyptian artist Susan Hefuna meditates on the themes of migration and separation, pondering also on what brings people together. These themes underpin an exhibition of her drawings, objects and a new digital work at the Whitworth Art Gallery (ToGather, until 3 September). Her Vitrines of Araf (2007) include found objects such as family photographs and flowers, donated by the wives and daughters of staff based at the Townhouse Gallery in Cairo. The focal point is a performance (9 July) that unites the various migrant communities in the city. Local residents, originally from 15 different countries including Iran, Sierra Leone, Trinidad, Pakistan, Albania and Kuwait, will trace individual paths through Whitworth Park, the organisers say. Dancers from Studio Wayne McGregor will also take part in the event. 

Samson Young, who has a doctorate in computer music and composition from Princeton University, is making his presence felt; the artist is representing Hong Kong at this years Venice Biennale and making waves in Manchester with a new five-part radio series. One of Two Stories, or Both (Field Bagatelles) will be broadcast live from Old Granada Studios (30 June-4 July), weaving songs, poetry and oral histories evoking mythic tales of 17th-century Chinese travellers bound for Europe. Young will unveil a sound and video installation at the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (7-16 July) that explores the relationship between the UK and China since Hong Kong was handed back to the Chinese authorities in 1997.   

Source: The Art News Paper –

赵仁辉 Robert Zhao Renhui | Christmas Island, Naturally II 圣诞岛,自然而然 II, 2016100cm x 150cm | Matt Diasec in black frame

Singaporean artist Robert Zhao Renhui is one of the four shortlisted artists in the third edition of the HUGO BOSS ASIA ART Award for Emerging Asian Artists, jointly organized by Shanghai Rockbund Art Museum (RAM) and Hugo Boss. The winner of the Award will be selected by the jury chaired by RAM Director Larys Frogier. A group exhibition, held at RAM from 26 October, 2017 to 7 January, 2018 will showcase the works of the four shortlisted artists.
Singaporean visual artist Robert Zhao Renhui (b. 1983) works chiefly with photography but often adopts a multi-disciplinary approach, presenting images together with documents and objects. Renhui’s work include textual and media analysis, video and photography projects. Recent exhibitions include the Sydney Biennale 2016, Arles Discovery Award 2015, ‘A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World’, Centre of Contemporary Photography, Melbourne (2015); ‘The Nature Collector’, ShanghART, Shanghai (2015); ‘Flies Prefer Yellow’, Kadist Art Foundation, San Francisco (2014); and ‘A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World’, Primo Marella Gallery, Milan (2014), Singapore Biennale 2013, Centre of Contemporary Photography (Melbourne) and Photoquai 2013. His work has also been awarded The Deutsche Bank Award in Photography (2011) by the University of the Arts London, The United Overseas Bank Painting of the Year Award (2009) Singapore. In 2010, he was awarded The Young Artist Award by the Singapore National Arts Council. His work has also been featured prominently in Artforum International, ArtAsiaPacific, European Photography, Pipeline, Archivo, Fotografia and Punctum.
Source: Singapore Art and Gallery Guide –

The ancient town of Hasankeyf on the Tigris River in Turkey (Photo: Senol Demir/Flickr)
Protests against the flooding of an ancient town on the Tigris River have moved to the headquarters of the Dutch firm involved in removing monuments from the site. The town of Hasankeyf, with its origins in a 12,000-year-old settlement on the banks of the river in south eastern Turkey, has become a cause celebre for conservationists since the start of construction on the giant Ilisu Dam.

A small group of activists have been protesting at the Dutch company Bresser in ‘s-Gravendeel, near Rotterdam, against what they claim is the firms vital role in the removal of a 550-year-old, 1,100 tonne medieval tomb last month.

The tomb of Zeynel Bey, killed in battle with the Ottomans in 1473, was moved on a special wheeled platform around two kilometres to New Hasankeyf, the settlement that Turkish authorities are building to rehouse displaced people. Further monuments, including the gate to Hasankeyfs castle, a monastery, a mausoleum, and a bath are set for removal, it is reported. 

Europa Nostra, the European heritage association, this week condemned the tombs removal without sufficient consultation or documentation, and warned of risks to the towns 12th-century medieval bridge, 15th-century mosque complex and the tombs of the Ayyubid Sultan Sleyman and the Imam Abdullah. Hasankeyfs flooding would destroy evidence for one of the oldest organised human settlements ever discovered, says the board of Europa Nostra in a statement. 

The $1.1bn Ilisu Dam hydroelectric project, the biggest in Turkeys history, was first planned in the 1950s, but legal battles delayed the start of work until 2006. The dam will deliver much-needed power generation and improve local irrigation, the Turkish authorities say.

Official government figures estimate 15,000 people will need to be resettled, but activists put the figure closer to 100,000. The local government has promised the new township will have 710 new homes and 150 workplaces, and says it has the potential to be a major tourist attraction. 

In the Turkish city of Gaziantep, a 90,000 sq. ft museum houses extraordinary mosaics from the Roman city of Zeugma, rescued in a dramatic operation as the site was flooded by a dam across the Euphrates in the early 2000s. Security fears, however, have put Gaziantep, 30 miles from the Syrian border, off limits to most tourists. 

Source: The Art News Paper –

An installation view of Howard Hodgkin's From the House of Bhupen Khakhar (1975-76) at Hepworth Wakefield
When Howard Hodgkin died in March this year, he had already helped plan his exhibition Painting India (1 July-8 October) at the Hepworth Wakefield in great detail. The country that inspired the paintings in the show was of enormous significance to him; and the exhibition seems to have gained a corresponding importance. It is the first to gather a broad range of his paintings capturing his Indian memories and experiences.

Hodgkin had given detailed instructions to Eleanor Clayton, the shows curator. These included how to hang the pictures. He came to see the Stanley Spencer show which I also curated, which had about twice as many paintings, she recalls, and perhaps thats why one of the first things he said to me was: You will make sure that the paintings have enough space. He said that when the paintings are too close together they fight with each other.

Hodgkin had also expressed delight at the light-filled rooms in the David Chipperfield-designed building and urged Clayton to exploit their luminosity. He had pointed her and her team in the direction of his best Indian-themed works, some long unseen, one even suspected to be lost. And he had promised to deliver recent works made in Bombay. That the Hepworth has followed his wishes to a T and created a beautiful, revelatory show makes it all the more heart-breaking, as the Hepworths director Simon Wallis puts it, that Hodgkin could not see the results. 

Hodgkin said that he painted representational pictures of emotional situations and no other location inspired as many of these memories as Indiahis website lists 111 paintings triggered by dozens of journeys there. It was a place so close to his heart, Wallis says, and we were very surprised to find that no one had done a show that was exploring something that was so central to him.

Hodgkin collected Indian paintings from his teens and Wallis says that the painter had allowed a couple in here, in a small but fascinating archival space. But Hodgkin was insistent that the show should focus on his own paintings made over 50 years, from Mrs Acton in Delhi, begun in 1967, three years after Hodgkin had first visited India, to Over to You, one of six paintings completed in Mumbai in January this yearHodgkins final works. 

Wallis hopes that the show prompts similar epiphanies in visitors to the one he experienced at Hodgkins retrospective at the Hayward Gallery in London in 1996. But he argues that the famed colour in Hodgkins work is only part of the story. They are so redolent with a really strange set of emotional registers: you have to spend time with these works, you cant just have a superficial scoot by, thinking that it looks chromatically interesting, he says. Thats not what Hodgkin is after; its the emotional resonance, that sense of place, the essence of the spirit of the people he is engaging with or particular situations, picking up on that intriguing interactivity and social energy that we bring to living in the world with other people or with particular places that mean something to us. 

The particularity of Hodgkins Indian experiences is highlighted in tantalising glimpses of his diaries made there in 1970 and 1975, full of gossipy flourishes but also imagery suggesting paintings forming in Hodgkins mind: To Secunderabad, he wrote on 15 April 1970. Gin and lime at lunchtime. Rain in the afternoon with exactly matching Golconda skiesnavy blue and white lined with receding pink.

The subjects are typically diverse, from atmospheric evocations of landscapes and gardens, sea and sand, even food in Indian Veg (2013-14). And there are numerous paintings inspired by encounters with people. Perhaps the most affecting is From the House of Bhupen Khakhar (1975-76), an abstracted portrait of the Indian artist and close friend. When Hodgkin and Clayton were choosing the works, the portrait of Khakhar was a picture they were really excited about, but Hodgkin thought it was lost, Clayton says. He had no idea where it wasin the catalogue raisonn its pictured in black and white, there was no image of it in colour. And so we started trying to find it.

Via Hodgkins old gallery, Kasmin, a researcher at the Tate, a New York Times obituary, a publisher of a book on a collection of Native American art and an antique shop, Clayton was led to the family of A.J. Hirschfield, the name listed in Kasmins archive. It turned out that they were the right Hirschfields, and not only that, they still had the painting, she says. It was in their log cabin in Wyoming. Hodgkin never saw the painting again in the flesh but Clayton showed him a photograph of it in situ on the log-cabin wall.

Hodgkins final works possess a similarly poignant charge. Over to You (2015-17), completed in January, was inspired by the Stevie Smith poem Mr Over, which begins: Mr Over is dead / He died fighting and true / And on his tombstone they wrote / Over to You. While it obviously reflects Hodgkins sense of mortality (he had been unwell for some time), Clayton feels the painting is symbolic of much more. I thought Over to You was quite relevant to the way Howard would paint, she says. Hed make these paintings of personal moments but present them publicly, and he was so interested in people seeing his work, as well: he really wanted people to see it and have their own emotional responses to it. So it captures a lot about his practice, as well as being really beautiful.

Howard Hodgkin: Painting India, Hepworth Wakefield, 1 July-8 October
Source: The Art News Paper –

Curators Hera Chan and David Xu Borgonjon explore the unlikely relationship between Chinese diaspora queer subjectivities and the infrastructure of the beauty pageant.

The group exhibition “In search of Miss Ruthless” includes the work of 23 artists, on display at Hong Kong’s Para Site until the 10 September 2017.

Ka-man Tse, 'Untitled', 2017, untitled, 2017 (a er Hellen Jo) photograph archival inkjet print 41cm x 52 cm. Image courtesy the artist.

Ka-man Tse, ‘Untitled (a er Hellen Jo)’, 2017, photograph archival inkjet print, 41 cm x 52 cm. Image courtesy the artist.

“In search of Miss Ruthless” is a group exhibition curated by Hera Chan and David Xu Borgonjon at Para Site in Hong Kong. The exhibition departs from research into the media infractructures of the Chinese and Chinese diaspora beauty pageant contests. Their research included revising media coverage of the pageants across the world to actually participating in a contest (Hera Chan was a Miss Chinese Montreal finalist in 2017).

The process led the curators to construct an exhibition around the fictional (and utopian) figure of a beauty pageant contest participant named “Miss Ruthless”. The exhibition – selected from an open call programme for young curators at Hong Kong’s Para Site – weaves archival material pertinent to particularly contested case studies in the history of the beauty pageant. The show features 23 newly commissioned works by artists whose practices explore specific genealogies of race and sex-gender systems from critical and diasporic perspectives. As stated in the exhibition press release, the exhibition asks:

Perhaps a pageant infrastructure that searches for a Miss Ruthless can also hold space for queer life and illuminate histories of invisible labour.

Miss Ruthless Promotional Image. Image courtesy the curators.

Miss Ruthless Promotional Image. Image courtesy the curators.

The artists participating in the exhibition and public programme are: Amna Asghar, Doreen Chan, Viola Chen, Dachal Choi, COME INSIDE, Eternal Dragonz, Jes Fan, Christopher K. Ho, Eisa Jocson, Linda C.H. Lai, Fiona Lee, Ma Qiusha, Hương Ngô, Ngoc Nau, Xiaoshi Vivian Vivian Qin, Renee So, Salote Tawale, Hiram To, Ka-Man Tse, Wong Kit Yi, Kristina Wong, Xiyadie, Yu Shuk Pui Bobby.

Art Radar talks to Hera Chan (HC) and David Xu Borgonjon (DB) about the exhibition and who Miss Ruthless is.

David Xu Borgonjon and Hera Chan portrait. Image courtesy Parasite, Hong Kong.

David Xu Borgonjon and Hera Chan portrait. Image courtesy Parasite, Hong Kong.

Could you tell us about when and how you began to work together?

HC: This exhibition references various elements of the Miss Chinese pageant infrastructure – from historical case studies in which participants in the competition both in China and abroad either take advantage of their platform for making critiques of sexualisation and racialisation at home and abroad or are criticised (as is the case with Miss Chinatown in the 1960s) of reproducing orientalist stereotypes.

DB: When we met I was working in New York on organising a support group of arts administrators ( ), and Hera was working in Montreal on this project called Atelier Celadon. I was inspired by the collaborative principles and radical politics of that space, and as we started talking, we found we shared other interests too. We were both especially keen on researching and engaging with the cultural practices of people who are thought of as Chinese as they move around the world.

How did your research into these case studies structure or inform the exhibition?

DB: We found we shared an interest in presenting diasporic Chinese culture via arts programming. Hera had a strong sense that the phenomenon of Miss Chinatown pageants would allow us to take a fresh look at subjects that mattered to us, such as diaspora, feminism and media; the more we delved into the history, the more excited we grew, since we are lucky that several scholars and artists have already devoted time to the matter.

We are most interested in the structure, rather than the image, of pageants, if one could make such a separation. Better yet, we’re interested in pageants as media infrastructure: they produce and distribute images, because they are based on the performance of contestants. Many pageants began as fundraisers for public services within marginalised communities; for example, in the case of Vancouver, as early as 1954, Chinese-Americans organised a school fundraiser around the search for the “Queen of Cathay”, the contestant who sold the most tickets. (Although it was the men in community associations who were the primary salespeople: “He did all the talking and then I just wrote down the names of the ticket buyers for him.”)

Ka-man Tse, 'untitled' , 2017, photograph archival inkjet print 41cm x 50 cm. Image courtesy the artist.

Ka-man Tse, ‘Untitled’ , 2017, photograph archival inkjet print, 41 cm x 50 cm. Image courtesy the artist.

Years later, in 1977, the completely unrelated pageant Miss Vancouver Chinatown was founded, inspired not by local histories but by Honolulu’s Chinese-American communities; twenty years later, it was taken over by TVB and integrated into the media empire of Miss Chinese International. These many rebirths suggest how diasporic forms have evolved, from informal fundraisers to neighborhood celebrations to media enterprises. Many of the artists are engaged with this history. Kristina Wong’s art practice has for decades deconstructed this idea of Miss Chinatown. A comedian by trade, she dons the persona Fannie Wong (“Miss Chinatown 2nd Runner Up”) to satirise the tension between community expectations of Chinese femininity and aspirations towards self-determination. She often shows up unannounced at pageants for photo ops with the current court, and is sometimes welcomed and sometimes chased away. There are all these stock photos and newswire images of her circulating as the real deal.

Not only does the “queen” selected in the pageant represent her community aesthetically, by looking the way the community aspires to look; she also acts as an “ambassador” to other parts of the world, even if they’re just across the street. Pageants don’t just represent a community’s sense of self; they actively create it. We’re including her performance in this exhibition, and by housing it as an archival project, it’s being written into a strand of history as well.

Ka-man Tse, 'untitled', 2015 photograph archival inkjet print 41cm x 32 cm. Image courtesy the artist.

Ka-man Tse, ‘Untitled’, 2015, photograph archival inkjet print, 41 cm x 32 cm. Image courtesy the artist.

You mention in the curatorial text the notion of Chinese diaspora as an important theme in the exhibition. Could you tell us about how you are studying diaspora through the lens of the pageant infrastructure? What artists in the exhibition are particularly focused on this?

HC: Diaspora is a condition, a relationship to language and thought. Even Hong Kong’s relationship to the diaspora is very complex, and mediated by pageantry. For example, Miss Chinese International was a way of connecting to the diaspora, but also situating Hong Kong as the centre of the Cold War Sinoverse. It’s interesting because Hong Kong itself has (and arguably always has had) a tenuous geopolitical position that is both marginal and central.

People in diaspora are often worried about losing their culture. Because of their distance from wherever the homeland, real or imagined, might be, they are also the best preservers of that heritage. A pageant is a way to train young people in traditional forms of language and movement, and showing them with pride to the world. Most diasporic pageants, whether Pakistani or Chinese or Latin-American, require or encourage contestants to speak the national language and practice forms of national dance. In “Queen of the Chinese Colonies”, a pageant for Chinese-Latinos in Central America, there are reports of people writing phonetically their Cantonese speeches on their fans. Everybody wants to believe that their community is beautiful; beauty contests are a way to express that desire, but we’re more interested in problematising it.

DB: This exhibition focuses on recovering and foregrounding the ruthlessness (无情) that is inherent in the sentimentality (感情) of popular Sinophone culture; we think these themes are visible in highest relief in diaspora. Sentimentality can be described as “the Great Chinese theme”, not only as a form of unrequited love, but as “a form of thinking and living, that is the opposite of nomadism”. It’s a romantic attachment that is premised on adaption and resilience, mobilising the tremendous powers of “staying, enduring, of holding (things and people) together”, which is why it paradoxically required ruthless determination and strategic thought. (Rey Chow, Sentimental Fabulations). We are tempted to draw a distinction between leftist melancholia (Wendy Brown’s coinage) and radical sentimentality, within an alternative history of politics and governance that centres on the margins of China.

I think of the work of Viola Chen, a mediator, student and artist based in Tio’tia:ke. Her thoughts and works circulate around the idea of missing something, and she is currently developing a months-long image project on Instagram that is worth mentioning in this respect, too: Miss Ruthless Intl. examines the gendered life courses, emotional identities, and racialised surfaces of Miss Ruthless. She places fragmented prayers from her family on top of the seams of her qipao and then touches herself on the pile. Being Ruthless is a cultural thing. Her one flaw is that she wants to be post- but still posts on…[social media].

Kristina Wong 'Fannie Wong Former Miss Chinatown 2nd Runner Up': Chinese New Year Parade, 2012, Enlarged Photo/ Framed. Image courtesy Parasite Hong Kong.

Kristina Wong, ‘Fannie Wong Former Miss Chinatown 2nd Runner Up: Chinese New Year Parade’, 2012, enlarged photo/ framed. Image courtesy Parasite Hong Kong.

Hera Chan, in 2017 2016 you were a finalist in Miss Chinese Montreal. What was your experience of the competition and how did this form part of your research for the exhibition?

Last October 2016, I was one of eight finalists participating in the Miss Chinese Montreal pageant, which feeds into TVB’s Miss Chinese International. At the time, I was looking into the history of Montreal’s Chinatown with my collaborators from artist organisation Atelier Céladon. We kept seeing the posters advertising the pageant everywhere. Initially, a few of us were going to try to be a part of the competition, using that opportunity to meet other Chinese people we wouldn’t meet through university or art-related social circles. I ended up being the only contestant due to logistical reasons. As a contestant, I trained with the other women for about six weeks.

We were taught how to walk like you would in a pageant – or in the style of a 1990s runway, to do a choreographed fan dance together, and other sequences as well. In summation, the performances and walks we learned were exercises in how to be Chinese. Leading up to the event itself, my experience was characterised by female friendship. At the event itself, it was clear that a beauty pageant could not be recuperated from its anti-feminist project. Competing in Miss Chinese Montreal was my first public performance. Being a contestant in Miss Chinese Montreal informed the research for this exhibition.

Could you tell us a bit about the figure of Miss Ruthless?

HC: Miss Ruthless is not a real person but she is a real title. We think of this project as the start of a search for contestants in this alternative pageant infrastructure, hence the show title. In drawing from the depths of diasporic souls, while taking pageantry as a method, we seek to find a Miss Ruthless that will pursue her freedom to survive the harsh conditions of her environment.

The exhibition is filled with newly commissioned work. How big of a role did you both play in the development of the work exhibited?

DB: Almost all of the artwork comes out of extended conversations we have had with the artists. It’s been energising to see them share articles, images and research with each other in the Facebook and Wechat groups that we’ve set up for collaborators, since it’s a kind of archive.

Actually, one of the artworks can serve as a meditation on the process of commissioning an artwork: Christopher Ho’s I personally believe (2017) consists of 10 sculptures cast using paper from different pads of drawing paper, the kind common in art school. These sculptures represent the ten “finalist” ideas for artworks arrayed and presented together in a staggered lineup of slim, tall plinths. Below the sculptures are framed covers of the corresponding pads, matted to include the technically proficient and conceptually mediocre cover art (determined through an annual contest). On a number of levels, this work reflects the pervasiveness of pageant-like modes of thought in everyday life; both in the way that ideas for a sculpture compete with each other, and in the way that the drawings are based on public competitions, and in the para-competitive tone of a group exhibition.

Ngoc Nau 'She Dances for Desire' , 2017 Holographic installation 3x2x5m. Image courtesy the artist.

Ngoc Nau, ‘She Dances for Desire’, 2017, holographic installation, 3 m x 2 m x 5 m. Image courtesy the artist.

Could you give us an insight into one or two of the works that most closely explore the exhibition’s themes?

HC: She dances for desire (2017) by Ngoc Nau is a hologram depicting the performance of the Len Dong ritual, part of a mother goddess religion. Mischievously dancing in traditional Vietnamese clothing, this figure is as part of a long term research project centered on Ngoc Nau’s home in Thái Nguyên, a province in the northeast region of Vietnam. Created by the Kinect for DepthKit software, the hologram draws from old forms of media illusions such as Pepper’s Ghost in mapping the process of industrialisation in her hometown, where there is now a shift from an agricultural village life to becoming a destination for foreign electronics manufacturing plants. The playful goddess ghost dances a ritual in response to the governing forces of home.

The exhibition text suggests that the “pageant infrastructure can also hold space for queer life and illuminate histories of invisible labour.” Could you unpack these ideas a bit? Which artists in the exhibition are actively exploring this terrain?

HC: Linda Lai’s work could be an illuminating example, since she is interested in showing how the performances that go into Chinese femininity are not recognised as a process of laborious self-construction and social maintenance. She traces it back specifically to the Shanghai modernity of the 1930s. In Blasting Modernities 1930: Confessions and the Dramatic Linda C.H. Lai draws from a panoply of movie ads, newspaper columns, celebrity posters, calendar illustrations and film fragments, to investigate the year 1934. It was a moment of temporary peace and recovery in pre-war Hong Kong, before Japanese aggravation became acutely felt in 1937.

Modernity ‘blossomed’ in the quotidian, on the street, in confessional writings in newspapers, within entertainment and consumer cultures, in girl’s schools, on beaches and artificial swimming facilities. Thick discourses circulated, interpellating women as at once morality-obliged subjects, active consumers, tested citizens of progress, corrupting agents of traditional virtues and transformable individuals for western, modern ideals. This ensemble of stills, sketches and moving images draw on 1930s Shanghai modern femininity to highlight daily confessions and played-up dramaticity in the domain of leisure. It is an assemblage of looks, personas, objects and confessions, forming a mind-map, which takes on Bruno Latour’s idea of “actantiality”, to envision a world in which things and humans are co-agencies of equal status.

Jes Fan, 'Disposed to Add' , 2017, Silicone barbell, silicone weight plates, testosterone-based soap hand weights, bath towels, iPad, performance 140 x 200 cm. Image courtesy the artist.

Jes Fan, ‘Disposed to Add’, 2017, silicone barbell, silicone weight plates, testosterone-based soap hand weights, bath towels, iPad, performance, 140 cm x 200 cm. Image courtesy the artist.

DB: I think that Jes Fan’s work would also be worth looking into. Fan’s sculptural and performance work explores gender as a material process. Their installation Disposed to Add speculates on the relationship between bodybuilding culture and queer self-definition. It includes a set of barbells made of testosterone-based soaps (because testosterone dissolves in lipids, it’s easy to put into soap); like weight training, washing with these objects becomes a means of self-transformation. And for Fan it’s always a social, relational process: it also includes a set of soft silicone barbells that hang on the wall like tired limbs, which get activated in performances where two masculine dancers pull, tie, stretch and twist the two ends of the barbell until it snaps. Fan is also working with Mary Maggic on a programme in August, which plays with the idea of hormone exchange; if I consume the estrogen of your mother and integrate it into my body, how might it change our relationship? In a city like Hong Kong, where medical access to hormones is difficult and traumatic for transgender people (you have to be diagnosed with a disorder), pursuing the musculature that you want is one form of liberation.

This exhibition project was itself selected from a competition of proposals through Para Site’s Emerging Curators programme. Most working artist and curators are now well conditioned by the proliferation of open call modes of working, a structure that could perhaps be likened to the pageant competitions you are exploring. How do you see the question of labour here? Can competitions such as pageants (and open calls) really be recuperated as a politicised mode of thinking and working?

DB: Open calls are vexed because they are the art world’s default means of involving a wider public in creating programming. The problem is that the open call as a form doesn’t just reach a public by magic, it relies on the existing networks that an organisation has cultivated. In that respect, Para Site has been committed to creating a public that this call could activate, through this programme as well as professional development programmes for curators and arts workers.

For me the tension between competition and collaboration is very important; just looking at pageants, the difference between the sisterhood that the arduous, long training encourages and the enmity that the winner-takes-most contest demands is something we’ve focused on. One of the artworks, Ka-Man Tse’s Embrace, deals with capturing the big hug that happens right after the winner is announced, together with all the conflicting emotions that the moment brings up.

HC: How do you suspend the result, and extend this process for longer? How do you stay in the contest, in other words, and take it seriously. Pageants are one of the few spaces where a sociality between women is encouraged and cultivated, even as it’s also destroyed by a competitive framework where men are usually the owners, managers and judges. I think we can consider, however, taking categories like Miss Friendship and Miss Congeniality at face value, and think about recuperating a structure which rewards collaboration and mutual aid; in this context, winning might be an afterthought to competing.

Rebecca Close


Related Topics: Hong Kong artists, independent art space, performance, events in Hong Kong 

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OPEN CALL | Sydney and International | Call for Artists | The Chippendale New World Art Prize – 31 July 2017

An international art prize and creative programme, the annual Chippendale New World Art Prize is organised and facilitated by the Chippendale Creative Precinct, Sydney. In its fifth year, the Prize invites Australian and International artists to submit one painting of a landscape that inspires a sense of place. There are no limitations to scale or level of establishment of the artists. Finalists’ work will be showcased in an online exhibition. The winners will be asked to donate one work of a Provençal scene to the Chippendale Creative Precinct. Three winning artists will be invited to participate in a six-week residency in the Provence region, Southern France as a part of the NG Art Creative Residency Program led by Nicky Ginsberg, Senior Curator and Director. An entry fee of AUD35 (approx. USD26) is required upon submission. MORE HERE


OPEN CALL | Netherlands | Call for Project Proposals | Cinekid (and three others) – 15 August 2017

Cinekid, La Gaîté Lyrique, KiKK Festival and WoeLab are launching the joint project “Les Voyages de Capitaine futur”, or “Supernatural: Stories of Worlds to Come”. The theme of the joint project revolves around the notion of hybrid ecology. The programme is now calling artists and designers of all forms and practices that use, subvert, investigate and experiment with media, including the fields of artificial intelligence, art & science, robotics, bioart, up/recycling, interactive and speculative design. Three selected artwork proposals will each receive a budget of EUR15,000 (approx. USD16,792) and tour internationally across various festivals and exhibition spaces throughout 2018 and 2019. The successful proposals will be announced on the 31st annual Cinekid Festival in October 2017. MORE HERE


INTERNSHIP | Shanghai | Multiple Unpaid Internships | Power Station of Art (PSA) – 31 August 2017

Home to the Shanghai Biennale, the PSA is the first state-run museum dedicated to contemporary art in mainland China. The Museum is currently recruiting interns for the following positions: Graphic Designer, Showcasing Designer & Promotion Commissioner for APS (A Power Store), Campus Liaison and Event Assistant. Interns will be required to work 3 days per week with a total minimum commitment of 400 hours (300 hours for the summer vacation period). In addition to hands-on experience in their interested fields, interns will receive a range of welfares provided by the PSA including daily allowance, recommendation letter, exhibition discounts and priority in job opportunities. Qualified applicants will be asked for an interview via e-mail or phone call within one week of submission. Final results will be notified within three days after the interview. MORE HERE


OPEN CALL | Global | Call for Funding Applications | Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) – 15 September 2017

In recognising how integral mobility is for artists and cultural professionals, the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) has launched “Mobility First!”, a funding initiative, to support the travel for professional creative engagement between Asia and Europe. Individuals and art organisations of all artistic and cultural forms and practices are welcome. Candidates must be of ASEF member nationality or based in the member countries. Previous grants have supported projects such as artist residency trips from Sweden to Japan and festival attendance from Korea to Malaysia. The application process is on a rolling basis with 6 rounds announcing a total of up to 10 successful candidates every first week of the month until October 2017. MORE HERE


INTERNSHIP | Philadelphia, USA | Multiple Unpaid Internships | The Clay Studio – apply by unspecified

The Clay Studio is Philadelphia’s only non-profit space solely dedicated to the education and promotion of the ceramic arts, and is one of the world’s leading institutions in the field. Their ongoing Internship Programme is currently recruiting college students, recent ceramics graduates and ceramic artists as Teaching Assistants Available areas are: Studio (School and/or Summer Clay Camps), Outreach/Education (Claymobile), Gallery/Shop and Administration/Development. Successful applicants will work on a range of functions throughout the Clay Camp programme at The Clay Studio and, in return, gain access to free classes, facilities and open studio time. Interns work either 15 or 30 hours per week, for a total of 60 hours for 2 to 4 weeks. The Clay Studio is an equal opportunity employer and qualified applicants of all national origins, genders and ages, etc. are encouraged to apply. MORE HERE


Did you know that Art Radar runs its very own online art writing course? Click here to find out more about Art Radar‘s Diploma in Art Journalism & Writing.

Looking for more opportunities in the contemporary art world? For Art Radar’s complete list of jobs, internships, residencies, courses and open calls, click here.

Closing this week!


OPEN CALL | Miami | Student Curatorial Fellowship | Pérez Art Museum Miami – 1 July 2017

Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) announces a new curatorial fellowship thanks to the generous support of the Ford Foundation. The Ford Foundation Curatorial Fellowship at PAMM is offered to students of underrepresented ethnic backgrounds who have completed their studies at the undergraduate level and is designed to help individuals interested in embarking on a curatorial career. Over the course of 24 months the Curatorial Fellow will conduct extended research and help organise annual exhibitions of the museum’s permanent collection. For its inaugural fellowship, PAMM seeks one qualified candidate who will work within the curatorial department at PAMM from September 2017 through September 2019. The fellow will work to support the curatorial team with all phases of exhibition development, including: checklist development; lender and artist relations; publication development; writing texts for exhibition interpretation, online content and press and promotional materials; exhibition floor plan development, installation; and related public programme development. MORE HERE



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Source: Art Radar Journal –

Lucio Fontana, Ambiente spaziale con neon (1967) (Photo: Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; © Fondazione Lucio Fontana, Milan)
The appetite for shows dedicated to the late Italian artist Lucio Fontana appears unabated with another major exhibition planned this autumn at the vast Pirelli HangarBicocca space in Milan (Ambienti/Environments, 21 September-25 February 2018). Curators at the Italian venue will bring together ten of Fontanas immersive Ambienti (Environments) in collaboration with the Milan-based Fondazione Lucio Fontana.

The show is due to include reconstructions of some of the most important walk-through environments shown at institutions such as the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis in 1966 and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam in 1967. The latter consisted of a purple neon tube suspended in a bright pink room.

All of the works in the exhibition are reconstructions of Fontanas Spatial Environmentsthe artist exhibited about 17 environments from 1949 until 1968that were all destroyed after they were exhibited, a spokesman says.

They have been rebuilt for the exhibition in Milan, after the exhibition curators, including Marina Pugliese, adjunct professor at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco, reviewed and examined sources such as letters, architectural plans, historical photographs, and interviews. This enabled Pirelli HangarBicocca to realise the architectural projects for the reconstruction of each environment, the spokesman adds.

There is only one Environment (Ambiente spaziale), 1967, in the exhibition which is on loan, and its an authorised reconstruction dating from 1981 in the collection of the Castello di Rivoli Museo dArte Contemporanea [in Turin], he says.

Fontana developed the first spatial environment in 1949 when he hung a series of Day-Glo papier mch shapes from the ceiling of a darkened room at the Naviglio Gallery in Milan (Ambiente spaziale a luce nera).

Writing in the Tate magazine in 2008, Francesca Pasini said: It was a revelation which introduced a new concept of interactivity. Fontana meanwhile explained his approach by saying: The Spatial Artist no longer imposes a figurative theme on the viewer, but puts him in the position of creating it himself, through his own imagination and the images that he receives.

Source: The Art News Paper –

Lucio Fontana, Ambiente spaziale con neon (1967) (Photo: Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; © Fondazione Lucio Fontana, Milan)
The appetite for shows dedicated to the late Italian artist Lucio Fontana appears unabated with another major exhibition planned this autumn at the vast Pirelli HangarBicocca space in Milan (Ambienti/Environments, 21 September-25 February 2018). Curators at the Italian venue will bring together ten of Fontanas immersive Ambienti (Environments) in collaboration with the Milan-based Fondazione Lucio Fontana.

The show is due to include reconstructions of some of the most important walk-through environments shown at institutions such as the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis in 1966 and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam in 1967. The latter consisted of a purple neon tube suspended in a bright pink room.

All of the works in the exhibition are reconstructions of Fontanas Spatial Environmentsthe artist exhibited about 17 environments from 1949 until 1968that were all destroyed after they were exhibited, a spokesman says.

They have been rebuilt for the exhibition in Milan, after the exhibition curators, including Marina Pugliese, adjunct professor at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco, reviewed and examined sources such as letters, architectural plans, historical photographs, and interviews. This enabled Pirelli HangarBicocca to realise the architectural projects for the reconstruction of each environment, the spokesman adds.

There is only one Environment (Ambiente spaziale), 1967, in the exhibition which is on loan, and its an authorised reconstruction dating from 1981 in the collection of the Castello di Rivoli Museo dArte Contemporanea [in Turin], he says.

Fontana developed the first spatial environment in 1949 when he hung a series of Day-Glo papier mch shapes from the ceiling of a darkened room at the Naviglio Gallery in Milan (Ambiente spaziale a luce nera).

Writing in the Tate magazine in 2008, Francesca Pasini said: It was a revelation which introduced a new concept of interactivity. Fontana meanwhile explained his approach by saying: The Spatial Artist no longer imposes a figurative theme on the viewer, but puts him in the position of creating it himself, through his own imagination and the images that he receives.

Source: The Art News Paper –

Dana Awartani's sand piece, I went away and forgot you. A while ago I remembered. I remembered I'd forgotten you. I was dreaming (2017), mimicks traditional Islamic tiles
The fourth edition of Shubbak, the biennial London festival that celebrates Arab art and culture, starts this weekend. The two-week-long festival (1 to 16 July) includes more than 150 artists from 14 Arab countries at over 80 events showing visual art, performance, film and literature. This years offerings will focus on looking imaginatively to the future, whilst reflecting on the fragility, resilience and challenges of artists in times of crisis, a press statement says.

The visual arts programme kicks off at the British Museum with a day of talks and performances, dedicated to how Middle Eastern artists and organisations can survive in the face political conflict, censorship and cultural destruction. The British Museum is an ideal location and partner to explore the multiple issues of preserving cultural heritage and the fragile situation of artists, says Eckhard Thiemann, the artistic director of Shubbak. A day-long symposium on Sunday, 2 July, will include contributions from the artists Sofiane and Selma Ouissi, Larissa Sansour and Khaled Jarrer as well as presentations by important organisations from the region such as the Atassi Foundation, Al Mawred Al Thaqafy, the Ruya Foundation, and Cairos Townhouse Gallery.

The museums Great Court will also be taken over by performances and site-specific works that look at the important role of artists and museums in preserving memories of the past. The Saudi Arabian artist Zahrah Al-Ghamdi will create an intricate floor installation made of sand and found objects that she has collected from abandoned villages in her home country. Another installation by the Syrian artist Issam Kourbaj will cover 60 sq m of the courtyard floor in hundreds of old hardback books, some painted with a black line to evoke the Syrian tradition of placing black ribbons over the photographs of people who have died. A conversation between Kourbaj and the curator Venetia Porter will also explore the histories behind the museums exhibition of recently acquired works on paper by Middle Eastern artists.

The work of female artists from the Middle East features in three exhibitions. Gasworks in Vauxhall is presenting a solo show of film, sculptures and photographs by the Kuwaiti artist Monira Al Qadiri, which reimagines international diplomacy as an alien conspiracy. The Syrian artist Sulafa Hijazi will show a series of animated images at Rich Mix in east London, in response to societys growing use of social media and 24-hour news. Works by three young Saudi Arabian female artists, which look at living and working in a country of rapid social change, will go on show at the Mosaic Rooms in Kensington (1 July to 2 September).

Thiemann says that this years festival comes at a time when the world feels less secure and artists have been selected for their deep reflection on important concerns of our time. There will be bold statements and brave works tackling urgent issues like migration and the desire for freedom, he says but we will also hear quiet, intimate and personal reflections which touch us with gentle emotions.

Source: The Art News Paper –

Assistant curators might want to move West, where the media salary for the position is $58,785
Despite the arts having a reputation for being a difficult field in which to find employment, and recent high-profile staff cuts at major museums including MoMA and the Metropolitan Museum, institutional jobs overall are shown to be stable positions, according to the American Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD)s 2017 Salary Survey, made public today (29 June). Two hundred and ninety-one museums in the US, Canada and Mexico (a 94% response rate) participated in the 2017 Salary Survey, a partnership between the AAMD and the global strategy consultancy firm Stax Inc, which examines pay and other benefits for 2016. It also compares data from 2011 to 2016.

As a [museum] director, this survey is invaluable, says Lori Fogarty, the director of the Oakland Museum of California and the president of the AAMD. There are very few surveys that are as comprehensive in terms of covering positions at every level of the museum organisation, Fogarty adds. The survey looks at over 50 staff positions in every department, from curatorial to museum security. It also compares salaries in terms of museum location and budgets.

This years survey reveals that museums spend a great deal of their operating budget on payroll expenses: for around two-thirds of the museums that participated, this was 41%-60% of their budget. It also shows that museums are a stable workplace in relation to the overall job force, with an average median salary rise of 3% in 2016 (greater than the US economic growth rate). And from 2011 to 2016, curatorial staffan in-demand profession for nearly a decade according to the Bureau of Labor Statisticshad a salary growth of around 4.6%.

Meanwhile, in that same period of time, salaries of Chief Operating Officers had a compound annual growth rate of 5.5%, around twice the average increase for salaries across all departments. Fogarty says this may reflect the growing importance of such roles, as the complexity of business and operational areassuch as facilities, human resources and technologymake a number two leader necessary.

On the other hand, museum director salaries had a 1.6% rise in median salaries and a compound annual growth rate of 1.2%. One reason this might be, Fogarty says, is because museum directors often sign multi-year contracts with a negotiated salary. And perhaps they do not want to have huge disparities with the salaries of their staff, she adds.

The survey has many uses for museums, such as getting an idea of the competitive salary landscape when hiring new staff, Fogarty says. The other areas of compensation, such as paid vacation time and a flexible work schedulewhich Fogarty believes are especially valuable to job-seeking millennialsare also important, since museums cannot always compete with salaries in other sectors, especially in places with a high cost of living such as the Bay Area, where her museum is located. It can also be useful when speaking with museum boards about budgets.

The breakdown also allows museums to compare salaries based on geographical areas, budgets and size, showing there really is no one-size-fits-all solution, Fogarty points out. For instance, the median salary for a chief curator or director of curatorial affairs in Mid-Atlantic states (including New York) was $168,600, compared to $93,846 in the Southeast, while the position had a median salary of $121,186 for museums with an annual operating budget of less than $1m, and $226,171 for museums with an operating budget over $20m.

The survey is also a useful tool for museum professionals, whether they are trying to negotiate a raise, or looking for new positions. Previously available for free to AAMD members, with a $100 fee for other users, the survey has been published without charge for everyone this year. This kind of research is a big investment if youre new in the profession and trying to understand what your expectations can be, Fogarty says.

The AAMD has been looking at data on museum salaries since 1918 (and has carried out a survey with a similar format to this years report since 1991).

Source: The Art News Paper –