March 9, 2009 - ArtAsiaPacific - Issue 62 out now
March 9, 2009

Issue 62 out now

Issue 62
Mar/Apr 2009

2009 begins with a complex international financial crisis that has put a stranglehold on public and private cultural budgets, museum programming and the expansion plans of institutions around the world. But declining revenue isn’t the only pressing issue. The terrorist attacks on Mumbai in November have turned up the tensions between nuclear-armed neighbors India and Pakistan, and the conflict between Israel and Hamas over the Gaza Strip has reignited.

ArtAsiaPacific issue 62 follows the impact of these developments while highlighting a number of under-recognized but highly influential artists who have continued to work in challenging political and economic environments.

Among the artists winning overdue acclaim is Mike Parr, Australia’s elder statesman known for his physically demanding and often masochistic performances. In his conversation with the artist, contributing editor Michael Young found Parr “non-apologetic about the political dimension of his work, though he concedes that it can be terroristic.” The late Tetsumi Kudo, a Japanese postwar artist who was preoccupied by human destruction, created radical assemblages of hand-crafted severed body parts trapped in day-glo bird cages. Here, in a discussion with Kudo’s peers, Minneapolis’ Walker Art Center curator Doryun Chong talks with the modern Butoh dancers Eiko & Koma, about Japan’s political climate of the 1950s and 1960s.

In ArtAsiaPacific 62, we welcome AAP‘s new features editor, Ashley Rawlings, who examines the career of Lee Ufan, a Korea-born artist and theorist of the Japanese avant-garde Mono-ha group. In his sculptures Lee pairs large rocks with steel plates, and his paintings are made with just a few precise brushstrokes. We also introduce contributing editor Donald Dinwiddie from London, who contemplates Kutluğ Ataman, a Turkish artist whose films and videos investigate collective memory, identity and utopia. Ataman has recently embarked on “Mesopotamian Dramaturgies,” an eight-part series that explores Turkish contemporary history. AAP managing editor HG Masters covers Yin Xiuzhen, whose site-specific installations and sculptures explore the rapid modernization and social changes China has undergone since Deng Xiaoping promulgated his “open door” policy in 1978.

In Profiles, AAP looks at several initiatives that have the potential to become influential cultural voices in their region, including the upcoming Sharjah Biennial and the third edition of Art Dubai in the United Arab Emirates‘ burgeoning art scene. AAP also covers the new Nam June Paik Center in Korea, with its mission of encouraging the kind of experimentation practiced by video artist Nam June Paik and the 1960s avant-garde artist group Fluxus.

Adopting a more pensive mode in Essays, historian Cecelia Levin revisits Bengali modernism. For the Point, Hammad Nasar of the London nonprofit Green Cardamom gallery considers the ramifications of the Mumbai bombings on the cultural sector in the Subcontinent. In Projects, AAP sits down with Beijing-based painters Liu Xiaodong and Yu Hong, who discuss what it means to be an artist in China today. We also listen to one of Mumbai’s great modern painters, Jehangir Sabavala, who describes the colors that have inspired his work over the last 60 years. From Manila, Marlyne Sahakian takes us into photographer Ringo Bunoan‘s studio for Where I Work. Rounding out the magazine is senior editor Don J. Cohn’s review of three recent books on contemporary Chinese art.

While the future may look economically bleak, there’s bound to be a silver lining in there somewhere. Gallerists, critics and artists will recall a not too distant moment when the talk shifted from “What does it look like?” to “How much does it cost?” AAP hopes that in the coming months we will see a return to an appreciation of the true value of art.

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