Several months ago, I finally got to experience the Guggenheim in New York City. It was definitely on my bucket lists of architectural structures. After studying its architecture and interior design in school and seeing this epic building in person, all the small details and stories about came rushing back to me. What really surprised me was that I got vertigo. I was having such a hard time finding my level because of the constant slant. I also went up the elevator straight to the top and worked my way down (the way it was designed to show artwork) and then realized half-way that I was supposed to work my way up from the bottom.
What was on show was Art and China After 1989: Theater of the World that presented work by seventy-one key artists and groups active across China and worldwide. Together they form critical provocations free from ideology, to define contemporary Chinese experience in universal terms. The exhibition surveys the culture of artistic experimentation from the end of the Cold War in 1989 up until the Beijing Olympics in 2008. From the onset of globalization and rise of China on the world stage.
When I was doing some quick research about the exhibition…scrolling on Instagram and Twitter, I was surprised to see such strong conviction around animal cruelty. Three of the pieces were pulled because they depicted strong imagery that animal-rights activists were protesting. You would think that art gets an automatic by in content being exhibited in a high-standing institution. This might reflect the current climate in the United States where freedom of speech is under constant attack. It’s just in poor taste to target art in such a significant exhibition.