老外 - Laowai 老外 - Foreigner
老外 - Laowai 老外 - Foreigner is the afterbirth of the 2012 new York Academy of Art Micro residency in Shanghai and Beijing. A home-grown-homecoming put on by the artists themselves, this show re-introduces the post-China travelers and their work to New York City. The exhibition comes after the seven artists, Chinese and American, lived and worked together at break neck pace in China- executing two major institutional exhibitions in two months, in two cities.
Returning home with stories and pictures abound and seeking the company of friends, riveting conversation and fine drink, we've installed ourselves in the Kraine Gallery, behind the bar at KGB. Home-away-from home for the NYAAA crowd, the modest gallery space leads visitors to a brief moment of respite and a place of reflection before they return to the throbbing ballyhoo that promises to carry on well into the night. Leaving stale museum talks and panel discussion for another time, 老外 - Laowai 老外 - Foreigner is a night in a grittier tradition of culture and intellectual exchange. We partake in a history where artists traverse continents and cultures, coming together in the dim light of cosmopolitan speak-easies, cafes and dives of 6th Century Rome, Picasso's Paris or NY's Cedar St. Tavern to talk on philosophy, share the days efforts in the studio, argue, gossip, dance, strut, fight and fuck in order to give birth to culture.
Each of the works in the show demonstrates a shared commitment to hand crafted techniques, and highly personal investigations of individual and social life. And at the same time provide an introduction to the vastly different studio practices that each of the seven artist has developed. As a physical gathering point for the works, the hallway gallery is a point of departure into a variety of different layers in the conversation between the pieces. In an essay accompanying the exhibition, Transcultural Practice - The Questioning “Self”, Rachel Marsden extends the conversation begun by the artist and examines each of their practices in relation to the theme "foreignness". One floor above in the Red Room theatre space, And Warhol Made in China, rare documentary of Warhols 1982 trip to China, will be shown during the opening. And this webpage is an online component of the exhibition. It serves to deepen the conversation between the artworks, and allows gallery visitors to see the individual works against the larger backdrop of each artists practices. QR codes used in the gallery space next to each piece, or the webpage accessed via smartphone, give the gallery visitor a handheld window to a larger body of work that support each individual drawing or painting. Of course this does not replicate the experience of being present in front of the absent works, but access to an online extension of the gallery adds a variety of layers that the we can use to create a larger context in a small space, bringing new and more complex meanings to the collection.