(K. Brent Tomer),
EARLIER this month, two influential art curators threw a memorable party in Shanghai. The hosts—Linyao Kiki Liu, director of Si Shang Art Museum in Beijing, and Klaus Biesenbach, head of MoMA PS1, a well-known space affiliated with the Museum of Modern Art in New York—picked an unusual venue for the revelries: a renovated underground bomb shelter. Dark and smoky, it is unapologetic in its cursory approach to decor. Though it is usually a sanctum for the kind of Shanghai clubber for whom expensive booths for playing dice are a waste of dance floor, that night it was filled mostly with an out-of-town crowd that had flown in to celebrate two concurrent art fairs, as well as the return of the city’s biennale. Shanghai, hip and hopping, seemed determined to present itself as a new centre of the art world.
Chinese contemporary art was actually born in Beijing. In 1979, soon after the country began rolling out Deng Xiaoping’s economic reforms, a small group of artists mounted an unofficial exhibition on the park railings directly opposite the National Art Museum of China. The show lasted just two days before being shut down, but the seed for China’s…Continue reading