Chen Qiulin, Garden No. 1, 2007, digital photograph, collection of Max Protetch
China continues to grapple with its world identity, its products entrenched in the American “must have for cheap” psyche, repelling many with its tiger parent-style and endearing with its delicate art forms.
The Sun Valley Center for the Arts is going to explore many aspects of the country in the coming three months with a multidisciplinary exploration of the political, economic and cultural realities of contemporary China through visual arts, lectures, book discussion, seminar classes and films.
The project officially opens during this week’s Gallery Walk, at The Center, in Ketchum, at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 30.
The opening will unveil the visual arts exhibition for “Stories of a Changing China,” which features sculpture, painting, photography and a site-specific installation by artist Ying Zhu, who will be present and speak about her work at 6 p.m.
“The exhibition includes work by both Chinese and Western artists inspired by the rapid economic, social and cultural changes taking place in China today,” said Courtney Gilbert, curator of visual arts at The Center. “How do economic changes affect the cultural lives of China’s citizens? What impact do they have on the country’s cities? And how do these changes impact its environment and landscape?”
The project is also the first of what The Center hopes will be a series of Sun Valley Center Symposiums, opportunities for curious learners to dig into a topic in a deep way. China Today, a six-week symposium beginning Oct. 10, will further explore the social, artistic and economic realities of 21st-century China through films, lectures, book discussions and seminar classes. Symposium attendees can pay one tuition fee to attend all events or purchase tickets for individual programs.
The gallery exhibition will be on view through November, with guided evening tours on Sept. 5, Oct. 24 and Nov. 21 at 5:30 p.m. From September through November, “Stories of a Changing China” events will be ongoing and include: the film “Ai WeiWei: Never Sorry” with post-film remarks from Jeff Kelley on Sept. 16; an art history lecture with curator Jeff Kelley on Sept. 18; a lecture with Orville Schell on Oct. 10; a lecture by David Henry Hwang on Oct. 17; a teen workshop on traditional paper cutting on Nov. 2; a contemporary Chinese film, “Beijing Flickers,” on Nov. 7; a family day at The Center in Ketchum on Nov. 9, with exhibition tours and paper-lantern making.
“We are very excited to be able to offer such an in-depth opportunity to learn and share ideas,” said Kristin Poole, artistic director for the Sun Valley Center for the Arts. “This community is full of intelligent, curious people who want college-level investigations of interesting topics. We hope that these kinds of seminars begin to fill that need.”