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Arts & Entertainment - Global

Only Three Weeks Remain to See U.S. Debut of Contemporary Artwork from China’s Top Academy

November 4, 2013

A sculpture entitled <i>Empty No. 4 </i> by Kim Hyo Sook
A sculpture entitled Empty No. 4 by Kim Hyo Sook is featured in the exhibition. Photo credit: Shan Cerrone.

Only three weeks remain for visitors to see an exhibition of contemporary art by top graduates from the China Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA), China’s premier art academy, at Drexel University.

The exhibition, hosted by Drexel’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, will be on display at the Leonard Pearlstein Gallery in the URBN Center Annex (3401 Filbert St.) through Friday, Nov. 22. The gallery is free and open to the public Monday – Saturday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Entitled “The Start of a Long Journey,” the exhibition features paintings, prints, sculptures and video installations from 24 of the prestigious and highly exclusive academy’s most talented graduating seniors, called “the cream of China’s aspiring artists” by The New York Times. The featured works showcase emerging Chinese culture and reflect the distinguished level of fine arts education in China.

The exhibit is part of a cultural exchange between CAFA and Drexel. In 2012, Dr. Joseph Gregory, head of the Department of Art & Art History in the Westphal College and curator of this exhibit, arranged an exchange of exhibitions between the CAFA Art Museum and Drexel’s Pearlstein Gallery.

<i>The Sound of Peace</i> by Jeong Seong Joon. Photo credit: Shan Cerrone.

As part of this arrangement, nine faculty artists from the Westphal College went to Beijing in September to install their artwork at the CAFA Art Museum. The present exhibition is CAFA’s contribution to this cultural exchange.  

An opening reception was held in the gallery on Oct. 4, during which Allen Sabinson, dean of the Westphal College, and Wang Min, dean of CAFA’s School of Design, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to facilitate future faculty and student exchanges between the two institutions.

“Since its founding 95 years ago, CAFA has built an extensive collection of the outstanding works of its alumni,” said CAFA Vice President Xu Bing, an artist and MacArthur Fellowship recipient. “The collection has become an integral part of the history of fine arts education in China. We are honored to present CAFA graduates’ excellent work at Drexel and introduce them to audiences in the United States.” 

Wang Min, dean of CAFA’s School of Design, and Allen Sabinson, dean of the Westphal College, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) at the opening reception on Oct. 4. Photo credit: Shan Cerrone.CAFA describes the pieces in the exhibition as critical assessments of the previous era of Chinese art, which were shaped by the intellectual trends during the Cold War period as well as traditional Chinese wisdom.

Highlights include: “Adding and Subtracting,” a sculpture of books and texts by Wu Wer; “The Landscape in Mist, Fibonacci Mountain,” a multi-dimensional work combining gouache paper, pencil drawings and video by Ye Qiuyang; and Zhang Yifan’s “Elephant” series of digital print-making, acrylic and laser-cutting works.

“CAFA is widely recognized as the most respected academy of Chinese fine arts,” said Gregory. “A great many of China’s leading contemporary artists have, in fact, graduated from CAFA. For this reason, we are thrilled to have been chosen as the only American venue to show this new work. We hope this exhibition will become a platform for future cooperation and exchange between the Central Academy of Fine Arts and Drexel University.”

Media Contact:

Alex McKechnie