On February 6, the University of Chicago will host the US-China Forum 2020: The Matter of Art. Convened by UChicago Global and UChicago Arts in collaboration with the Smart Museum of Art, this year’s forum explores how China and the United States intersect, interact, and overlap through the arts.
The one-day program, which is free and open to the public, features performances, lectures, and in-depth conversations between renowned artists and distinguished UChicago faculty members. From Xu Bing’s experiments in language, to Miao Ying’s playful and complex internet-generated art, to the composition of city soundscapes in Wang Lu’s Urban Inventory, the US-China Forum offers a rare opportunity to hear from some of the most innovative Chinese artists working today and to experience the critical dialogue generated by their work. The Forum takes place from 10am to 7pm at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th Street, in Chicago. For a complete schedule and registration information, visit global.uchicago.edu/us-china-forum-2020-matter-art
“We are thrilled to bring together this particular group of artists and university faculty who – singly and together – are generating new ways of understanding art and its relationship to our world,” says David Levin, Senior Advisor to the Provost for Arts. “The US-China Forum will introduce audiences to a broad range of topics from re-imagining the sound and bustle of contemporary life, to rethinking our relationship to the internet, to reflecting upon the role of language in our lives. It promises to be an enormously stimulating day.”
Wu Hung – the Harrie A. Vanderstappen Distinguished Service Professor of Art History at UChicago, Director of the Center for the Art of East Asia, and Adjunct Curator at the Smart Museum – will deliver the closing keynote address at the US-China Forum. He also co-curated The Allure of Matter, a related art exhibition which opens the next day, February 7, and which is co-presented by the Smart Museum of Art and Wrightwood 659.
The Allure of Matter is the first exhibition partnership between the Smart Museum in Hyde Park and Wrightwood 659 in Lincoln Park. Too large for a single venue, the exhibition takes up the full gallery footprint of both institutions. It opens twenty years after the Smart Museum’s first contemporary Chinese art project with Wu Hung. The works, many monumental in scale, are made from a range of unique and humble materials and explore how conscious material choice has become a symbol of expression for many leading Chinese contemporary artists.
This fifth annual US-China Forum at the University of Chicago is sponsored by the China-United States Exchange Foundation, and brings together renowned experts—including scholars and artists from the US and China—for high-level engagements focused on issues of importance to both countries.
In addition to the US-China Forum and the events surrounding The Allure of Matter, the Logan Center will host Sifu: An Evening of Cantonese Opera on Tuesday, March 17 at 6:30pm. The tradition of Cantonese opera, with its vivid costumes, distinctive music, and dramatic presentation, has been fostered and developed for over 500 years. For one performance only, opera sifu will present a collection of these canonical stories at the Logan Center through martial arts, acrobatics, acting, and singing, accompanied by traditional Chinese percussion. This event is presented in part by UChicago Global, the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, and the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (NY). For ticket pricing and program detail, visit the Logan Center Box Office website.
About the University of Chicago:
The University of Chicago is a leading academic and research institution that has driven new ways of thinking since its founding in 1890. As an intellectual destination, the University draws scholars and students from around the world to its campus in Hyde Park and to its centers around the globe. The University provides a distinctive educational experience and research environment, empowering individuals to challenge conventional thinking and pursue research that produces new understanding and breakthroughs with global impact.
About The Allure of Matter: Material Art from China
The Allure of Matter features two- and three-dimensional works made from a range of unique and humble materials, like melted plastic, paper-thin porcelain, and 300,000 iron nails. These works, many monumental in scale, explore how conscious material choice has become a symbol of expression for a number of leading Chinese contemporary artists working over the last four decades. The artists in the exhibition range from those in the early stages of their career, including He Xiangyu, Hu Xiaoyuan, and Ma Qiusha, to such internationally celebrated practitioners as Ai Weiwei, Cai Guo-Qiang, Lin Tianmiao, Xu Bing, and Yin Xiuzhen. The Allure of Matter is divided into two unique halves at the Smart Museum (26 works by 16 artists) and Wrightwood 659 (23 works by 14 artists). To fully experience the exhibition, guests are encouraged to visit both locations.
Visiting the Smart Museum of Art
The Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago is a site for rigorous inquiry and exchange that encourages the examination of complex issues through the lens of art objects and artistic practice. Through strong community and scholarly partnerships, the Museum incorporates diverse ideas, identities, and experiences into its exhibitions and collections, academic initiatives, and public programming. The Smart first opened in 1974. Admission to the Smart Museum is always free. The Allure of Matter will be on display at the Smart Tuesdays–Sundays, 10 am–5 pm; on Thursday evenings, the Smart Museum will remain open until 8 pm. The Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago is located at 5550 S. Greenwood Avenue, Chicago. For more information, please visit smartmuseum.uchicago.edu or call 773.702.0200.
Visiting Wrightwood 659
Wrightwood 659, a private, non-collecting institution devoted to socially engaged art and to architecture, presents three public exhibitions annually. Located in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, Wrightwood 659 was designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect, Tadao Ando, who transformed a 1920s building with his signature concrete forms and poetic treatment of natural light. In a city rich with art institutions and internationally known for its architecture, Wrightwood 659 is designed as a site for contemplative experiences of art and architecture, and as a place to engage with the pressing social issues of our time. All visits to Wrightwood 659 require a reservation. Advance tickets for The Allure of Matter are available, online only, for $16, at https://tickets.wrightwood659.org/events. During the exhibition, free general admission tickets will be released each Tuesday for the current week. Unless otherwise noted, Wrightwood 659 will be open to the public Thursdays and Fridays, 12 pm–8 pm and Saturdays, 10 am–7 pm. Wrightwood 659 is located at 659 W. Wrightwood Avenue, Chicago. For more information, please visit: wrightwood659.org or call 773.437.6601.