Arin Dwihartanto Sunaryo
Ho Tzu Nyen
Tang Da Wu
Tayeba Begum Lipi
The Otolith Group
The Propeller Group
Tuan Andrew Nguyen
Tun Win Aung
Wong Hoy Cheong
The title evokes the concept of a culture without borders. Investigating the diversity of contemporary artistic practice in South and Southeast Asia through the work of a cross-generational selection of artists and in the context of the region's problematic borders, the exhibition traces the complex relationships and cultural influences that connect the area's people to each other and the rest of the world.
First Exhibition in the Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative Presents Works by Artists From Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam
From February 22 through May 22, 2013, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York will present No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia, the inaugural exhibition of the Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative. The exhibition features work by 22 artists and collectives representing some of the most compelling and innovative voices in South and Southeast Asia today. Focusing on the region's shifting spectrum of creative practices, the exhibition traces networks of intellectual exchange and influence, and considers the various impacts of ethno-nationalism, colonization, and globalization on national identity. The exhibition features painting, sculpture, photography, video, works on paper, and installation, the majority of which will be on view in the United States for the first time. All works have been newly acquired for the Guggenheim’s collection under the auspices of the Guggenheim UBS MAP Purchase Fund. Following its presentation in New York, No Country is expected to travel to venues in Hong Kong and Singapore.
The exhibition both expands the Guggenheim’s global dialogue and significantly increases its holdings of art from these dynamic communities. Richard Armstrong, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, stated: “With No Country, we begin to take local, regional, and global audiences into a deeper, more rewarding, and we hope more nuanced cultural exchange. As the exhibition’s title suggests, we have tried to take nothing for granted—including the concept of ‘country’ itself—in thinking about the art that is now being made, in adding to our mutual knowledge and understanding across borders, and in building a vital area of the Guggenheim’s collection.”
"The beauty of the Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative is that it allows us to spotlight regions which have so far been rather underrepresented in the largely Western-centric international art scene” said CEO of UBS Wealth Management Jürg Zeltner. “We recognize the immense economic potential, which these regions have, and they are high on our own list of priorities. But their importance will not only be measurable in business terms. They are challenging the Western world's virtual monopoly in many disciplines. Art is something which many of our clients are very passionate about, and our collaboration with the Guggenheim makes an ideal fit with our long-term objectives: the promotion, education and collection of art among a wide audience at an international and local level."
Launched in April 2012, the Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative is a multi-year collaboration that charts contemporary art in three geographic regions—South and Southeast Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East and North Africa—and encompasses curatorial residencies, international touring exhibitions, audience-driven educational programming, and acquisitions for the Guggenheim’s permanent collection. Conceived to engage a range of audiences, including artists, curators, and educators, Guggenheim UBS MAP seeks to stimulate dialogue and creative interaction both regionally and globally, fostering lasting relationships among institutions, artists, scholars, museum-goers, and online communities. The program builds upon and reflects the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation’s distinguished history of internationalism.
No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia is curated by June Yap, Guggenheim UBS MAP Curator, South and Southeast Asia, with assistance from Helen Hsu, Assistant Curator, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Nancy Spector, Deputy Director and Chief Curator at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York, and Joan Young, Director of Curatorial Affairs, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, provide curatorial oversight for the entire initiative.
Drawn from the opening line in W.B. Yeats’s poem “Sailing to Byzantium” (1928), which was later adopted by Cormac McCarthy for his novel No Country for Old Men (2005), the exhibition title No Country evokes the concept of a culture without borders. Investigating the diversity of contemporary artistic practice in South and Southeast Asia through the work of a cross-generational selection of artists and in the context of the region’s problematic borders, the exhibition traces the complex relationships and cultural influences that connect the area’s people to each other and the rest of the world.
Among the works’ themes are: concepts of nation, identity, and religion; cross-cultural encounter and negotiation; and historical interpretation and narrative. Many make use of cultural appropriation and emergent media.
Of the works chosen for the exhibition, Yap notes: “There is a tremendous range of artistic practice in South and Southeast Asia, and certainly more artists and artworks than any single project can accommodate. In this exhibition, the intention is both to present the range of aesthetic developments and subjects of interest to contemporary artists, and at the same time to challenge the privileging of nation and national narrative as the basis for understanding aesthetic practices from different countries. The hope is that these artworks will contribute to a deeper and more critical understanding of the region, both for audiences in the United States and those in Asia. Accompanied by programs for engagement with different local and international audiences, No Country is more than an exhibition alone, it is a platform for discussion and exchange, and for the undoing of barriers to mutual understanding.”
The artists in the exhibition are:
• Amar Kanwar (b. 1964, New Delhi, India)
• Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook (b. 1957, Trad, Thailand)
• Arin Dwihartanto Sunaryo (b. 1978, Bandung, Indonesia)
• Aung Myint (b. 1946, Yangon, Myanmar)
• Bani Abidi (b. 1971, Karachi, Pakistan)
• Ho Tzu Nyen (b. 1976, Singapore)
• Khadim Ali (b. 1978, Quetta, Pakistan)
• Navin Rawanchaikul (b. 1971, Chiang Mai, Thailand)
• Norberto Roldan (b. 1953, Roxas City, Philippines)
• Poklong Anading (b. 1975, Manila, Philippines)
• Reza Afisina (b. 1977, Bandung, Indonesia)
• Shilpa Gupta (b. 1976, Mumbai, India)
• Tang Da Wu (b. 1943, Singapore)
• Tayeba Begum Lipi (b. 1969, Gaibandha, Bangladesh)
• The Otolith Group (est. 2002, London)
• The Propeller Group (est. 2006, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and Los Angeles, California)
• Tran Luong (b. 1960, Hanoi, Vietnam)
• Truong Tan (b. 1963, Hanoi, Vietnam)
• Tuan Andrew Nguyen (b. 1976, Saigon, Vietnam)
• Vincent Leong (b. 1979, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
• Wah Nu (b. 1977, Yangon, Myanmar) and Tun Win Aung (b. 1975, Yalutt, Myanmar)
• Wong Hoy Cheong (b. 1960, George Town, Malaysia)
Following its debut at the Guggenheim, No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia is expected to travel to venues in Singapore and Hong Kong. Guggenheim staff will collaborate with curators and educators at the Asian venues to adapt these presentations to the specific interests and needs of audiences in Singapore and Hong Kong. These distinct presentations of the exhibition may include a number of artworks not originally shown in New York but acquired for the Guggenheim’s collection through the Guggenheim UBS MAP Purchase Fund.
Expanding the Dialogue, On the Ground and Online
As part of its mission to encourage cross-cultural dialogue about contemporary art and cultural practice, the Guggenheim is presenting an extensive and innovative series of discussions and commentaries, accessible both on the ground in South and Southeast Asia and New York City, and online on the Initiative’s website. The Guggenheim staff has engaged in a far-reaching professional exchange with the artists, the project curator, and other colleagues from participating institutions to develop a series of public, academic, and family programs in conjunction with No Country, with accompanying resource materials. These programs were launched on November 28, 2012, with a conversation titled MAP: Regarding South and Southeast Asia, at the Jim Thompson Art Center in Bangkok, Thailand. Hosting the conversation were Alexandra Munroe, Samsung Senior Curator of Asian Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; June Yap; and Gridthiya Gaweewong, Artistic Director, The Jim Thompson Art Center.
The Initiative’s online platform features written texts, audio, and video by curators, art historians, artists, and regional experts. Items posted to date include in-depth essays on aspects of the region by artist and art historian Iftikhar Dadi, who shares his perspective on contemporary curatorial practice in South Asia, and by Patrick D. Flores, Professor of Art History, Theory, and Criticism at the University of the Philippines at Diliman, who writes on the complexity of art in Southeast Asia both historically and today. Other contributions include a conversation between Roger MacDonald, Deputy Director of Arts Initiative Tokyo, and Indonesian sound artist Duto Hardono; an article about politically infused Indonesian street art by writer and graphic designer Leonhard Bartolomeus, and a piece about the changing relationship between the Asian and Australian art scenes by Russell Storer, Head of Asian and Pacific Art at Queensland Art Gallery / Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane. Also featured are writer and filmmaker Aung Min’s personal history of documentary filmmaking in Myanmar, and artist and curator Veronika Radulovic’s look at the recent flowering of public performance art in Vietnam. New contributions will be added to the online platform throughout the project, and readers are invited to respond to the provocative “Sound Off” questions appended to each.
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Press Preview: Thursday, February 21, 9:30 am–12 pm
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
1071 Fifth Avenue (at 89th Street) New York, NY
Sun–Wed, 10 am–5:45 pm; Fri, 10 am–5:45 pm; Sat, 10 am–7:45 pm; closed Thurs. On Saturdays, beginning at 5:45 pm, the museum hosts Pay What You Wish.
Adults $22, students/seniors (65+) $18, members and children under 12 free.