Summer of China swings open its gate
This past weekend, the Milwaukee Art Museum officially launched its long-awaited Summer of China, which includes five exhibitions, the largest of which is "The Emperor's Private Paradise: Treasures from the Forbidden City."
"It's very exciting," says museum director Daniel Keegan, "3,000 years of Chinese art, five exhibitions running simultaneously, it's a project that's been underway for three years.
"They're all really important exhibitions because of the way they slice into this 3,000-year history. But we're very excited about 'The Emperor's Private Paradise.' After it finishes here it goes back to the Forbidden City, the objects never to be seen again outside the Forbidden City's Palace Museum, so this is a big deal and it's a very interesting story, his desire to build this personal retreat within the Forbidden City."
One of the smaller shows, "Way of the Dragon: The Chinoiserie Style, 1710-1830," doesn't open until June 30.
But all of the others are up and ready to wow you with various facets of 3,000 years of Chinese art. And the experience begins immediately.
"We want people to experience China when they come in the door," says Laurie Winters, director of exhibitions for the Milwaukee Art Museum.
And it does. If you enter from the underground parking garage, you see a recreation of a bamboo garden, which is the result of a collaboration with the Garden Alliance.
Arriving off Art Museum Drive, there's a banner, of course, but your eye goes immediately to "On Site: Zhan Wang," the contemporary Chinese artist's thoroughly modern take on traditional scholar rocks.
The shiny steel piece sits in the center of Windhover Hall, beneath Calatrava's wings and with a glistening Lake Michigan as a backdrop.
"It's an update (of scholar rocks), done in a language of 21st century art," says MAM's chief curator Brady Roberts. "You think of Anish Kapoor and Josiah McIlhenney. Zhan Wang has taken something that is this very introspective, spiritual thing and made it this brash, sort of global statement on a monumental scale."
Because of its reflective surface, the work will be constantly changing, thanks to the ever-evolving light and color that streams into the Windhover windows, says Roberts.
Flanking the main Baker/Rowland Gallery, down the east and west gallerias of the Calatrava building, is "Warriors, Beasts and Spirits: Early Chinese Art from the James Conley Collection."
Upstairs in the Koss Gallery, you can see "Emerald Mountains: Modern Chinese Ink Paintings from the Chu-Tsing Li Collection," through Aug. 28.
But be sure to carve out plenty of time for "The Emperor's Private Paradise," in the Baker/Rowland Galleries.
The Qianlong Garden is a two-acre respite – with 27 structures, shrines, libraries, open-air gazebos and a range of bamboo groves, rock gardens and other natural features – in the heart of Beijing's Forbidden City, the imperial palace for 500 years.
It was built in just five years, from 1771-1776, as a retirement retreat by Qianlong, one of China's longest-reigning and most influential emperors. Like Europe's Renaissance rulers, Qianlong was an aesthete and a lover of art, so the garden and its buildings are as exquisite as one would expect.
To see its seemingly countless treasures, first you must pass through the gate and leave your stress at the door...
"We've tried to replicate one of the (garden) gates as best we could," says Winters. "The Qianlong Garden is an atmosphere of sort of tranquility and calmness, so we wanted the visitor to achieve that experience as they come in. As you walk through the gate, hopefully your pulse rate drops a little."
The entry gate is immediately striking, says Henry Tzu Ng, executive vice president of the World Monuments Fund, which is working to conserve and restore the garden and is a key player in the exhibition.
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I am so glad to learn that the summer of china had finally been launched in the Milwaukee Art Museum. The Emperors Private paradise is really something of a sight to see. One will be absolutely stunned to witness the ancient 3000 year old artwork of China in all its glory.
China announced a surprise trade deficit in February as oil and rising prices of other commodities, increased its imports would be. The growth of exports in February dropped 2.4 per cent of companies fell during the holidays a week Lunar New Year, while imports at a higher price of oil and other raw materials increased by 19.4 percent to U.S. deficit $ 7.3 million, according to data released Thursday. Local Business Listing
I think it would be a good advantage to China if they share some heritage with us. Based on an essay I've read, they REALLY do have interesting masterpieces to share with us.
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