Thirty-one contemporary artists from the Bay Area and beyond interrogate the phenomenon that is modern Chinese culture in the Chinese Culture Center's (CCC) Present Tense Biennial: Chinese Character exhibition. Presented in collaboration with Kearny Street Workshop (KSW) and guest curated by Kevin B. Chen, program director for Intersection for the Arts, the exhibition features a wide array of media including photography, video, painting, animation, sculpture and installation art displayed at both the Center's downtown San Francisco gallery and in a number of satellite storefront windows throughout Chinatown. The exhibition is on view May 1 - August 23, 2009 and opens with a reception on Saturday May 2, 2009 at 1 pm.
The Biennial is designed to showcase fresh perspectives on contemporary culture in Chinese and Chinese American communities. "This is really a here and now survey of what Chinese means to people - specifically young people," says Chen. "It's young people who have been responsible for the big shifts we see both in China and out here in the Diaspora so we felt that young artists would be uniquely equipped to investigate and question it." And while many of the artists invited to participate are either from China or are Chinese-American, many are not. "When you organize a show around ethnicity, you run the risk of collapsing in on yourself," he says. "So we were intentional about introducing other communities to the conversation." That diversity of perspectives is reflective of the overall impression left by the exhibition. "What we see in this work is that we can no longer generalize Chinese culture," says Abby Chen, program director at CCC and co-curator of the exhibition. "There is really a complexity to what Chinese-ness is these days. The Present Tense Biennial is on view Tuesdays - Saturdays 10 - 4, Sundays 12 - 4 at CCC. Admission to the gallery is free and maps to storefront installation locations are available at the gallery and online. Free. Website: http://presenttense.us/
Photo: Nostaligia No. 24 (detail), 2007. Digital Photograph by Maleonn.