Friday, February 22, 2013

‘Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia’

The first major exhibition of a multi-year initiative conceptualized by the New York-based Guggenheim charts contemporary art and creative activity across three geographic regions.

‘No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia’ in collaboration with UBS features recent acquisitions in painting, sculpture, video, film, work on paper, and installation, it attempts to engage critically with the region on its own terms.  The exhibition’s title is drawn from the opening line of the W. B. Yeats poem ‘Sailing to Byzantium’ (1928) referenced in the title of Cormac McCarthy’s 2005 novel ‘No Country for Old Men’. It alludes to this transformative journey, one which eludes simple delineation.

An accompanying note by the Guggenheim UBS MAP Curator (South & Southeast Asia), June Yap, states: “The exhibit proposes a reevaluation of the region and its countries based on its cultural relationships, influences, affinities, and negotiations. It offers a glimpse into the region’s diverse contemporary art practices, and presents the possibility of understanding its countries as greater than the contents of their political and geographical boundaries.

Challenging romanticized perceptions of the region, the artworks in No Country lay bare a complex set of conditions that resulted from the rise and fall of kingdoms and empires, and which bear the historical traces of colonization and the often-traumatic birth of nations. These works explore universal themes of national identity and community, cultural knowledge, power, and faith.

The mission of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation is to promote the understanding and appreciation of art, architecture, and other manifestations of visual culture, primarily of the modern and contemporary periods, and to collect, conserve, and study the art of our time. The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation was founded in 1937, and it opened the Museum of Non-Objective Painting in 1939, its first New York–based venue for the display of art. The unusual gallery—designed by William Muschenheim at the behest of Hilla Rebay, the foundation’s curator and the museum’s director—was built in a former automobile showroom on East Fifty-fourth Street in Manhattan.

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