an experimental velázquez

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Here’s a work based on Diego Velázquez’s Las Meninas (1656), from the CAFA Experimental Art Department’s undergraduate student exhibition. Pretty funny, taking an architectural section of the work (cutting even through people!). But not getting how this is ‘experimental’.

Francis Bacon did his Study after Velázquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X (based, as the title suggests, on a Velázquez work) in 1953. So congrats, kid at CAFA, you’ve graduated, but it’s not a novel idea. Artists copy masterworks all the time as learning exercises and sometimes they branch off and add their own style. Sure, some are more successful than others, but experimental? What does that even mean!?

cafa undergrads: experimental art

Previously I posted about works from the CAFA postgraduate students’ exhibition. Well, the undergraduates had exhibitions too, although they were less refined and less interesting. Here are two works from the Experimental Art Department’s show. There was some weird stuff. Even more crappy stuff.

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Do other schools have experimental art departments? When I first read it, I thought I was mixing up the translation … but nope, it’s actually called the Experimental Art Department (实验艺术系). How do you teach someone to be experimental? It was mostly installations, so maybe that’s what they were getting at, but there were also paintings and sculptural works … and it’s not like you could call the works from other departments ‘traditional’.

In art school, aren’t most students experimental to some degree?

cafa art for the soul

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Life, it’s always getting in the way of things, eh? Here are more pictures from the CAFA show last month in Beijing! I gotta say, I was duly impressed. Not only were the students’ works amazing, but the museum itself was beautiful. White walls, good lighting, and high ceilings make my day any day!

i know that feeling (in sculpture form)

Wandering around the CAFA campus was great fun because there were a number of undergraduate student exhibitions scattered throughout. I stumbled upon the sculpture studio, and unfortunately the sculpture exhibition wouldn’t start until the week after, but I saw this piece and thought it was pretty great.

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I don’t know who the artist is since there was no label, but it’s pretty amazing, right? Part of me thinks it’s a self-portrait, but even if it’s not a direct self-portrait, I think all students, architects, and the like can sympathize. For my part, I’ve definitely fallen asleep in similarly awkward positions at my drafting table.

white and spiky

Oy. It’s been crazy busy lately. A few weeks back I was in Beijing for work and caught the exhibition of postgraduate work at the CAFA (Central Academy of Fine Arts) Museum. Not sure if it’s still up or not, but it was definitely a treat. CAFA’s probably the best art school in the nation, and the student work was pretty darn amazing.

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Yang Zhou (杨洲), Zha (扎), 2014

This installation consisted of ceramic spikes and ready-made furniture by Yang Zhou. I found it immensely appealing and eerily familiar since growing up, my room always had white walls and white furniture (in every single house). The use of understated furniture, the blank whiteness of it all, the spikes that almost look like grass and therefore somehow don’t seem that dangerous … it’s a quiet sort of terror that reminds me of The Virgin Suicides, that kind of whitewashed dread that lurks beneath every pretty facade.

Lots more to show, stay tuned!

congrats, pratt peeps!

I just wanted to extend a hearty congratulations to all those graduating over at Pratt! Pratt was my first real taste of New York, so even though I haven’t been back to Clinton Hill since that summer way back when, I will forever have a soft spot for Pratt.

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Two of my fellow interns are graduating from Pratt’s interior design program, so I stopped by the Pratt Show on Monday to check out their work. They graduate next week, but basically they’re done. This show is the big hurrah with all their thesis projects, and their thesis books are due aftergraduation … crazy, eh?

The Pratt Show 2013 is currently being held at the Manhattan Center (311 West 34th Street at 8th Avenue). The show opened May 6 (when I stopped by) and it’ll run until Thursday, May 9. It’s open to the public! You should go! And if you do, head to the very back where the master’s interior design work is exhibited!

art on campus … 1st-year mfas!

Two weeks ago I attended the opening of an art exhibition on campus for the first-year MFA students. Some of the stuff was cool, some was confusing, some was merely eh. It was … an interesting mix. Nice change to escape studio for a bit though, and there was alcohol (always a plus)! Below is a selection of some of the pieces I found interesting.

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“untitled (blue monochrome 1 to 88),” “untitled (yellow monochrome 1 to 97),” “untitled (red monochrome 1 to 100)” – Arches 88 paper and ink – Jason Kraus

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“Between the Lines” – Newspaper, see-through mirror, wood, string, smoke – Jin Joo Chae

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“Live Forever” – Microsoft PowerPoint, clay – Laura Miller

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“April Showers” – sugar, T-shirt, video – Wang Xu