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China Design Now: A Multi-Sensory Experience Opens in Portland
Ma Ke, Wuyong collection, Paris Fashion Week, February 2007 © Shu Lei.
PORTLAND, OR.- This October, the Portland Art Museum will present China Design Now, a multi-sensory experience reflecting the new Chinese urban environment and encapsulating the scale, speed, and energy of change in China today. Visitors will embark on a journey of discovery through China, focusing on the graphic design, fashion, interior design, and architecture emerging from three vibrant and rapidly evolving cities.

Organized by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, China Design Now reveals how designers, architects, filmmakers, and artists have transformed Chinese design from imitation to innovation, leading to the rise of a new design dynasty. The approximately 100 designers whose work is featured in this exhibition have, collectively, defined a new aesthetic that reinterprets traditional Chinese forms, is inspired by global youth culture, and responds to the dreams and desires of a rising middle class. Their entrepreneurial spirit is reflected in the runway trends, street posters, photography, interior design, architectural projects, advertising, and consumer products presented in the exhibition.

Portland-based and internationally-renowned Ziba Design worked with the Museum’s exhibition team to design the presentation of China Design Now for Portland. Through a series of meetings with the Museum’s director, curators, and educators, and reflecting upon their years work in mainland China and current research, an installation design has been devised that is grounded in historical Chinese space planning and that utilizes sound, video, lanterns, neon, and scroll like text panels to help guide visitors through the installation of more than 250 objects, and enhance the experience of China’s dynamic culture and urban life.

The exhibition begins on the first floor of the Museum’s main building with a 180 degree projection of an animated fly-through of Beijing. Home to the imperial palace and court since 1420, Beijing has also emerged as a symbol of China’s growing world presence. This dynamic presentation highlights the connection between China’s past, present, and future.

China Design Now is structured in three thematic sections, leading visitors on a journey from south to north along China’s coast: through Shenzhen, Shanghai, and Beijing. Each city is a starting point for the exploration of different design fields – graphic design and visual culture in Shenzhen, fashion and lifestyle in Shanghai, and architecture and urban spaces in Beijing.

Shenzhen: Frontier City
Following China’s implementation of economic reform policy, Shenzhen became the world’s largest manufacturing center. This planned city distanced itself from the political propaganda of China’s past, attracting a generation of young design students and professionals influenced by contemporary Chinese culture. Shenzhen is now the city with the youngest population in China, with an average age of 27 among its 10 million inhabitants. These young designers produced posters, advertisements, books, zines, animation, and consumer products reflecting a diversity of expression in the new Chinese economy.

The exhibition includes work by designers such as Wang Xu and Wang Yuefei, pioneers of cutting-edge graphic design practices that have influenced graphics produced in other Chinese cities. The exhibition also includes Chen Shaohua’s iconic poster promoting the nation’s first graphic design exhibition in 1992, which depicts two legs intertwined – one clad in traditional Chinese dress, the other in a Western-style business suit. Also included in this section are products across various genres, aimed at China’s design-conscious youth, including album covers, books, CDs, skateboards, athletic shoes, toys, and t-shirts.

Shanghai: Dream City
Shangahi, long a center of finance and commerce, is now home to a growing urban middle class whose affluence supports a cultural renaissance in fashion and interior design. The exhibition showcases runway trends, interior design, and household furnishings along with works by artists who critique the new consumer culture.

Once known as the “Paris of the Orient,” Shanghai is the historic center for embroidery and silk production and has been considered China’s foremost international city since the 1840s. Since its economic transformation in the early 1990s, a new class of trendsetters, tastemakers, and designers has emerged. The exhibition spotlights the fashion and lifestyle that has defined the city’s cultural renaissance and examines the aspirations of middle-class homeowners that serve as a major design driver. Featured work includes haute couture by China’s leading designers Lu Kun and Ma Ke, glossy portraits of porcelain painted girls by Wing Shya and Chen Ma, a stool combining Chinese tradition with a modern shape by Fan Ming, and shapely tea sets by Lin Jing.

Beijing: Future City
The final section of the exhibition showcases Beijing architecture, including the iconic “bird’s nest” National Stadium designed by architects Herzog and de Meuron for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. It is just one of the visionary buildings now springing up in this fast-growing city. Architectural models and images showcase the stadium as well as new skyscrapers, hotels, and residences. From the purely avant garde to structures influenced by traditional Chinese courtyard homes, Beijing’s architecture and infrastructure are reshaping the modern city.

During the last two decades, Beijing has emerged as a symbol of China’s growing world presence. The process of preparation for the Olympic Games led to the re-imagining of Beijing as a city for international consumption by a new generation of international architects and urban planners. A spectacular series of athletic facilities, cultural landmarks, business facilities, and commercial housing units demonstrate the transformation of Beijing’s cityscape and embodies China’s grand ambitions on the contemporary global stage. Featured works include the sleek information center Digital Beijing designed by Zhu Pei and the China Central Television headquarters by Rem Koolhaas and Ole Scheeren.

By focusing on the creative output of these three cities, China Design Now presents a vibrant snapshot of this extraordinary time in the development of Chinese design and a rapidly changing cultural landscape that is transforming China and our collective definition of urban life.

Portland Art Museum | China Design Now | Victoria and Albert Museum | Ziba Design | Lu Kun | Ma Ke |


Last Week News

October 10, 2009

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French Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand Agrees to Return Egyptian Art

Exhibition of Works Created Between the 60s and 70s at Sperone Westwater

Carmen Giménez Named Curator of Twentieth-Century Art at the Guggenheim

Christie's Fall Season of Photographs Sale Realizes $7.5 Million

Acquavella Galleries Shows Large Scale Works by Jean Paul Riopelle

National Gallery of Art Acquires Leo Villareal's Installation Multiverse

Damien Hirst's Pharmacy will be Exhibited at Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art

Frick Collection Announces European Painting Exhibition for 2010

Imperial White Jade Double-Dragon Seal for Sale at Bonhams

Getty Reveals Scientific Knowledge from the Medieval and Early Modern Period

Eric Zener's Oil Paintings of Swimmers in Vivid Blue Water on View at Hespe

A Trove of Rare Treasures on Offer at Christie's in November

Masterworks by Australia's Best Known Women Painters on View in Washington

Man Ray, African Art and the Modernist Lens Premieres at the Phillips Collection

'Accidental Mummies' Making US Debut in Detroit

Kitty Kraus Exhibits for Second Installment of Intervals at the Guggenheim Museum

Guggenheim Announces Short List for Hugo Boss Prize 2010

Kennedy Center Enlists Art Groups for Education

October 9, 2009

Museo del Prado Opens New Galleries Devoted to its 19th-Century Collections

Masterpiece from Damien Hirst's Butterfly Series Sold for HK$17.2 Million

Jeff Koons's Giant Rabbit Balloon Arrives in Covent Garden

Abstract Sculptures by Multi-Media Artist Jack Pierson at Cheim & Read

Philadelphia Art Commission Approves New Designs for Barnes Foundation

First Presentation of Eric Aho's Work at DC Moore Gallery

New York City Artist is $250K Winner of Art Competition

Eight Artists on Shortlist for UK's Biggest Contemporary Art Prize

The March Family Offer the Magnificient Cucci Cabinet

San Jose Museum of Art Unveils New Works by Tam Van Tran, Bari Kumar

Throne of Emperor Qianlong Breaks World Auction Record for Any Chinese Furniture

Views of Hamburg: The City in the Painter's Gaze at Hamburger Kunsthalle

First Time Key Work by Damien Hirst is Shown at Tate St. Ives

Soprano Sills' Estate Sells for More than $500K, Botero Sketch Sells for $27,500

'American Qur'an' Blends US Life, Quranic Verses

Exhibition of Superb Collection of Asian and European Decorative Art Opens in Melbourne

Early Works and Hand Crafted Items Highlight September Auction

Indianapolis Museum of Art Receives Nation's Highest Award for Community Service

Montclair Art Museum Announces a New Mural by Dan Fenelon

British Museum to Submit Revised Plans for World Conservation and Exhibitions Centre

October 8, 2009

Exhibition of Cosmic, Utopian and Experimental Works by Georges Vantongerloo

Egypt Announces It Has Cut Ties with France's Louvre Museum

Caravaggio's "Adoration of the Shepherds" to be Restored in Public

Fashion, Celebrity Photographer Irving Penn Dies at 92

Gagosian Presents an Exhibition of Selected Illustrated Spreads by Ed Ruscha

Hirshhorn Museum Opens Exhibition of Pioneering Figure in American Abstract Art

Newseum Recreates Journalist Tim Russert's Office in Exhibit

Stunning Safavid Rug from Late 16th Century Sold for $4.34 Million

Major Retrospective of Hungarian Artist László Moholy-Nagy at the Schirn

Landmark Sheeler Painting Acquired by Amon Carter Museum

Molten Color: Glassmaking in Antiquity Returns to the Getty Villa

Arts of the Samurai Sale at Christie's New York on October 23

Exhibition of the May Queen's Wedding Chest on View at Bismarck Foundation

Scribe will Write Out the Entire Text of the Torah at San Francisco Museum

Miami's Bacardi Buildings Win Historic Protection

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Aperture Foundation 2009 Benefit and Auction to be Held at The Lighthouse

The Heckscher Museum of Art Appoints Judith A. Jedlicka Interim Executive Director

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Center Stage Exhibition Commemorates New AT&T Performing Arts Center

October 7, 2009

Over 120 Rarely Exhibited Letters by and to Vincent van Gogh on View

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LACMA Announces First Exhibition Devoted to Renoir's Late Work

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Modern and Contemporary Sculpture in the Meadows Collection Opens

Exhibition Featuring Luo Ping Goes on View at Metropolitan Museum

South Africa's Fantastic Landscapes and People Glow in Bonhams Autumn Sale

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Galerie Van den Akker to Exhibit Sixteen Sculptures by Artist Pamela Sunday

Looted Artifacts on Display at Afghan Museum

Fountain in New York's Landmark Lincoln Center Restored

I. M. Pei to Receive the Royal Gold Medal for Architecture

Collectors Named as Suspects in California Art Heist

October 6, 2009

Tate Presents Works by Four Artists Shortlisted for Britain's Turner Prize

New Gonzalez-Torres Acquisition Installed on Occasion of Museum's 50th Anniversary

Luxury Brand Louis Vuitton Celebrates Savoir-Faire with Creations by Six Artists

Nefertiti Bust Moved to Berlin's Restored Neues Museum

First Public Viewing of French Drawings from a Celebrated Dutch Collector

Drawings by Pablo Bronstein Featured in Fall Exhibition at the Metropolitan

Over 100 Leading Art Galleries will Participate at London Art Fair 2010

Picasso to Crown Kunsthaus Zürich Exhibition Program in 2010

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First Comprehensive Museum Exhibition for Jack Goldstein in Germany Since 1985

Special Exhibition Showcases the Work of 11 Contemporary Artists

Paintings Made for The Who by John Davies on View at Idea Generation

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Heckscher Museum Celebrates Artists Who have Lived in Long Island

Sotheby's to Offer Islamic Works of Art in Paris for the First Time

Rhode Island School of Design Publishes First Historical Anthology

Images of First Cars to Cross the Himalayas into Tibet 102 Years Ago and Secret Photos of Japan from 1898 for Sale

Distinguished Abstract Expressionist Painter Charles Seliger Dies at 83

October 5, 2009

Severin Wunderman's Collection Stands The Test Of Time At Bonhams

The Spirit of Jazz Arrives at the Getty Images Gallery on London

Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein Opens Modernism as a Ruin: An Archaeology of the Present

Exhibition at the School of Visual Arts Showcases Iconic Advertising and Graphic Design

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Poland Street Underground, an Annual Two-Day Event in London During November

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Exhibition Critically Examines the Unusual and Absurd in Art

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Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- 'World's oldest message in a bottle', tossed in sea 101 years ago, reaches granddaughter

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3.- Ming-era 'chicken cup' sells for $36.05 million breaking record for Chinese porcelain

4.- United States pastor Kevin Sutherland convicted over Damien Hirst fake paintings

5.- Major exhibition at Pinacothèque de Paris explores the myth of Cleopatra

6.- Fondation Vincent van Gogh Arles opens with inaugural exhibition "Van Gogh Live!"

7.- Landmark exhibition opens in New York exploring the ancient kingdoms of Southeast Asia

8.- Palm-sized scroll that mentions Jesus's wife is ancient: Harvard Theological Review

9.- Hitler's wife Eva Braun may have had Jewish ancestry: British television documentary

10.- Bonhams to sell Madame de Pompadour's favourite porcelain which surfaced in Devon after 350 years

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