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Posts tagged ‘China’

Finding the “Awe” in Awesome Art

The monthly ArtSmart Roundtable brings together some of the best art-focused travel blogs to post on a common theme.  This month we are finding Art that Inspires from our travels.  Check out all the stories below!

looking at Pollack in a museum

Contemplating a Pollock at (Photo: Pete Aylward, Flickr)

Art by itself is empty; it requires an audience to react, contemplate and interpret it for themselves.  It is the skill of the artist that turns pigments on a board and chipped away marble into something that can elicit emotion or opinion from viewers.  Every art connoisseur is different, so it is very common for us each to like different styles or pieces.  I certainly have my favorites and not-so-favorites.  This month the ArtSmart Roundtable is looking at “Inspiring Art” so I thought I’d take a look at not just art that is beautiful or emotional, but art that simply astounds me.

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Exploring China and Kenya at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival

It’s not every day that you can walk from Kenya to China, but that’s what I did this Saturday.  Every summer for two weeks, the National Mall is DC is transformed into a center for global culture when it hosts the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.  Over 100 artisans, musicians, performers, and chefs take up residence and share their national traditions with Washington DC.  The rich cultures of Kenya and China were presented this year and I had a wonderful time exploring the festivities!

Folklife Chinese gate

The Flower Plaque gate made of bamboo, paper, and plastic welcomes visitors into the Chinese section of the Festival.

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Memory & Justice: Ai Weiwei’s “Straight”

Whether you follow contemporary art or international politics, you’ve probably heard of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei.  Renowned for his “Birds Nest” stadium at the Beijing Olympics, it was his social activism and criticism of the Chinese government that earned him 81 days of detention, house arrest and the loss of his passport.  An intelligent artist and social commentator, his exhibit, Ai Weiwei: According to What? is currently touring the US.  I had the opportunity to see it at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington DC last year.  I’ve been blown away by the beauty of a painting before, but it wasn’t until Ai Weiwei’s piece “Straight” that I encountered a work of art so emotionally powerful that I am still thinking about it a year after seeing the show.

Ai Weiwei, "Straight", 2008–12. Collection of the artist. Installation view at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC, 2012. (Photo: Cathy Carver)

Ai Weiwei, “Straight”, 2008–12. Collection of the artist. Installation view at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC, 2012. (Photo: Cathy Carver, Hirshhorn Museum)

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