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‘The New Chinese Landscape’ at Harvard, Raked Sand at ArtSTRAND, Future Shock at Green Street
By RANDI HOPKINS  |  August 8, 2006

Li Huayi, Mount Huang (2004)
It’s always a treat to spend time in the several clustered museums at Harvard, where scholarly mini exhibitions co-exist with larger surveys and familiar favorites from the permanent collection complement surprises in the galleries. Insightful little exhibitions like the Busch-Reisinger’s “Stratification” last fall or the Sert Gallery’s recent “Quantum Grids” let you zero in on art with intensity and intimacy. Opening at Harvard’s Sackler Museum on August 12, “The New Chinese Landscape: Recent Acquisitions,” six paintings and one sculpture, raises questions about our understanding of the term “contemporary” as it relates to non-Western art. In the early 20th century, China’s drive to modernize provoked debate about the value of traditional learning. Some artists adhered to tradition; some chose to travel and adopt foreign styles; some experimented with a synthesis of foreign and classic styles. It’s members of this third group who are featured in “The New Chinese Landscape.” Liu Dan and Li Huayi create hanging scrolls using traditional Chinese forms and materials but experiment with new techniques and display both Western and Chinese sources of inspiration. Zhan Wang’s stainless-steel interpretation of a scholar’s rock is a contemporary take on an ancient art form.

Daniel Ranalli has a history of collaborating with nature — for example, in a series of photographs of marks made by snails moving across wet sand — and also an interest in the way spirituality meets daily life that he developed through travels in Asia in the late 1990s. He combines these aspects of his work in his meditative, fleeting images of the dunes of the National Seashore in Provincetown and of Ireland. In both settings, the artist raked large, temporary Zen gardens in the sand, photographed them with a view camera to heighten the detail and clarity, then erased all traces. “Daniel Ranalli: Raked Sand Series” opens at ArtSTRAND in Provincetown on August 11.

Rather than “Being Here Now,” artist/curator/publisher Matt Nash takes a stab at imagining “Being Here Later,” a process that seems to be mediated, in his case, by B-movies, sci-fi thrillers, and visions of Jane Jetson’s kitchen. In this futuristic vein, he’s curated “Astronauts, Monsters and Silicon Flowers,” which is at the Green Street Gallery through September 9, with witty and humorous work by Jeff “Jeffu” Warmouth, Scott Listfield, and Leah Johnstone-Mosher.

 “The New Chinese Landscape: Recent Acquisitions” at Arthur M. Sackler Museum, 32 Quincy St, Cambridge | August 12–November 12 | 617.495.9400 | “Daniel Ranalli: Raked Sand Series” at ArtSTRAND, 494 Commercial St, Provincetown | August 11-30 | 508.487.1153 | “Astronauts, Monsters and Silicon Flowers” at Green Street Gallery, 141 Green St, Jamaica Plain | through September 9 | 617.522.0000

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Related: Turn on the bright lights, The hollow man, Bookworms, More more >
  Topics: Museum And Gallery , Science and Technology, Technology, Harvard University,  More more >
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