A Year of Chinese Art strives to facilitate a more global view of art and a new understanding of culture in the 21st century. This celebration of the Chinese arts attempts to bring a creative experience to students through a variety of mediums including forums, exhibits, performances, lectures, films and discussions. With generous support from Robert H. N. Ho (’56) and the continuous encouragement from the Institute of Creative and Performing Arts and Art and Art History Department Initiative, this artistic exhibition has been made possible. Another way for Colgate to expand its students’ cultural awareness and global understanding of the artistic world, the showcase is a year-round exhibit that hopes to provide a more in-depth look at China and its contemporary art forms.
With the help of Chinese scholars and artists, the artistic undertaking will hopefully foster further interest and enthusiasm in the arts and a new appreciation for other cultures in general. As cultures come together, so do various organizations and departments on the Colgate campus, creating an interdisciplinary experience for students.
Events and exhibitions have been and continue to be held in Picker Art Gallery, the Clifford Gallery and the Longyear Museum of Anthropology and Loesch Special Collections. The Year of Chinese Art began with Hu Jianbing and Li Liqun, a musical medley that relayed classical Chinese folklore and literature through the use of instruments. The year continued with Nian Hua, whose presentation displayed woodblock prints that are traditional to Chinese New Year celebrations. Jerome Silbergeld, a professor at Princeton University, was the next to come bearing his knowledge of contemporary Chinese art and in the process also presented the film, Shijie (2004), which spoke of the influence of globalization on culture.
In the future, Colgate students can look forward to “Mission and Madness: The Graphic Imagination of Shanghai’s ‘Modern Sketch’ (1934-1937)”, which addresses a new aspect of the art world-Chinese comic art! A returning guest artist and lecturer, Xu Bing will present his artistic endeavors spanning two decades of Chinese art including portions of his well-acclaimed work, “A Book from the Sky”. In addition, “Woodcuts in Modern China, 1937-2008: Towards a Universal Pictorial Language” can be viewed by students providing them with another glimpse of this unique Chinese art form.
As the year continues, future exhibits include the work of Zhang Minjie featuring his renowned woodblock reduction prints.
It is hoped that A Year of Chinese Art will draw Colgate students to develop a long-lasting interest in the realm of culture and art. Furthermore, a primary goal of this artistic endeavor is that the surrounding town of Hamilton and other local areas can appreciate the growing Chinese art scene as well. This exhibition and others like it further cement Colgate’s position as a flourishing artistic center.