Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Banana and the Scholar

Here is a new image from the Concubines of New York project, more images will be posted soon.

The project has also gotten some recognition by a few Chinese media lately, from both US and Mainland China. This on-going project will be shown at the Manhattan Borough Arts Bash on Tuesday, March 20, 2007, organized by Lower Manhattan culture Council.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

A Tale of Debb's Inn.

Debb’s Inn is gone, as last time I drove pass the little town called Llano in Texas. The muggy road was gone, so did the bushy little trees, the Ford purposely parked there for a decade now is gone, and so did the black cat used to lay on the rotten piano or the smelly plastic table cloth trashed nearby. The little Inn seemed hollow, soon the Sealy memory foam mattress and TOTO toilet is going to be moved in. A railway will be built in front it; a shabby little guesthouse will then become the honeymoon fantasy. I was a little somber, I actually really liked that little place, and I once made some pictures there.

In the summer of 2005, one of my fascinating models passed me a creasy brochure of Debb’s Inn. A short 18 minutes drive from Mason, a sign says “If the Inn keeper is not here, pick a room and enjoy your stay”. As a Shanghai born New York resident, that was a dream come true, I thought I was going to get a free room. Unfortunately, there is Gary, a big, hairy and Hmmm…less groomed guy has answer the door with the most innocent smirk. He insisted an orientation of the guesthouse, which took 5 minutes and indicated to me that he not only is the inn keeper, but also the cook (while showing the oil-dripping1970’s stove, he described the breakfast “a light weight Omelet with hint of sun-dry tomato and pine seeds” in his soothing anchorman-like voice), the entertainer, the cleaner, and the bellman (and later a model). Speaking of model, he claimed Kate Moss and “whole a lot of fame” was glimmered the space, as he spent 10 minutes to look for the guest book for Moss’s signature but failed. Sadly, I was noted especially that I was NOT the first Chinese from China visited this place. I was VERY shocked.

I soon picked the largest room in the house without any battle; no one else was there but me. I unpacked my camera bag and finally asked him -------------------------------------------------------------,------------------------ ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ---"---------"---------------"----------------------------------------"----------------- ------------------------,----------------"-------------------------------------------------------------- ------", so he took off his clothes and left only his shorts, in exciting-orange what is also the theme color of a couple of other rooms. He looked at the camera, and me and me again, then glimpsed over my shoulder and down to my bootleg Diesel jeans. I felt vulnerable and tiny; I could not look into his almost water-based eyes. I was a transparent nervous body in tight jeans, this guy knows a lot about me, BUT NOT EVERYTHING. He was lying there like a floating Santa, or, a steamy pile of flash, and he looked out/up like I was disappeared, at least that’s what I was feeling. He looked soulful, full of desire.

As the ray of sunset shines through the hallway, I slipped into the pink colored room with my Mamiya, the pillows smelled like Calvin Klein Obsession, I think that was Kate’s room.


The top photo of Gary in Debb’s Inn is awarded 3rd place for Singlar Image Color competition of Center (formerly Santa Fe Center for Photography). I am also accepted to Review Santa Fe 2007, this is the second year for me. I attended Review Santa Fe last year and had the blast time, made a few long-term friends. It was a very inspiring journey.

Art Fairs and Beijing Opera

Liu Xiaodong. The Valley of the Demon I, 2005. Oil on Canvas

The art fair weekend is just fantastic, and glamorous. Have you ever noticed how beautiful the art world people are? The people at the art fairs are almost as interesting to look at as the art, from an obsessive-compulsive human observer like me. You can read all the highlights of the fairs at here and here and here, so I am not going to blab too much about it. Maybe just one thing, I am so glad there’s no more paintings of Chinese people with Coke bottle and KFC logo (sometimes riding a Disney character), that was so last year. I recommend you to check out the paintings of real Chinese life/people by Liu Xiaodong, his Three Gorges Dam Project is heartfelt, seductive and somewhat chilly.

Shen Wei. The Horny Widow. 2007
Tip: if you stare longer enough, she might wink at you.

I also was busy shooting for my Concubines of New York project this weekend. The opera group I was following around had a performance today in Chinatown. I finally switched to a Canon 5D from a Mamiya RZ II because the super fast pace at the back stage. A friend of mine who previously quitted playing woman role (a tradition in Chinese Opera that male actor plays female role) has decided to play a horny widow this time, all because of his intention of spicing up my project. I am quiet thrilled about it and he absolutely did not disappoint me. His comedy piece was so hilarious and provocative; I nearly threw out my camera, twice.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Chicago and etc.

Photo: Chicago, 02/18/07, by Shen Wei

I had a wonderfully cold celebration of Chinese New Year and my birthday (yes, I was born on Chinese New Year) in Chicago last week. I love Chicago, one of my favorite cities of all time (except the winter). It was freezing but I still managed to see some great exhibitions.

The Art Institute of Chicago is just amazing, I especially love their Impressionism painting collections and the Japanese 17th Century prints collections. The current photography exhibition is titled Far from Home: Photography, Travel, and Inspiration, showing work by Walker Evans, Robert Frank, Irving Penn, Joel Sternfeld and so on. At the Museum of Contemporary Photography, is three floors of photographs of sex, including Robert Heinecken’s Sex and Food, Larry Sultan’s The Valley and Misty Keasler’s Love Hotels. It was satisfotofacion!

Photo: Thomas Holton

While I was warming up myself at the Barnes & Noble, I have flipped an Aperture magazine and there is a whole session of Thomas Holton’s The Lams of Ludlow Street series (WOW), Thomas’ work is getting widely recognized and did I mention he is also a SVA alum. Also, Amy Elkin’s portfolio in Eyemazing is quite impressive as well, GO SVA!

Photo: Daniel Traub

On Monday (2/19/07), Jen Bekman has announced winners of Winter 07 Hey, Hot Shot! The winners are Holly Andres, Colin Blakely, Jeffrey Krolick, Juho Kuva, Molly Landreth (SVA Alum!!), Brad Moore, Kirby Pilcher, Ben Roberts, Mickey Smith, Ka-Man Tse. The great work come out of this now internationally well-known competition are just very inspiring. Also I found Honorable Mention-ed Daniel Traub’s (Update: Traub is SVA Alum,too!) photographs about modern China are quite unique, the most honest I've seen. The Showcase of the HHS 07 Winter will be held on Wednesday, March 7, from 6–8pm at Jen Bekman Gallery, 6 Spring St, NYC.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day!

Photo by Andreas Gursky.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Can Photographers Be Plagiarists?

This photograph was taken by neither Zielskes nor Bialobrzeski. It is one of the official photographs of Nanpu Bridge of Shanghai. Thousands of postcards have been made from this and tourists from all over the world have taken that same picture. Apparently, Zie and Bia were fighting over the originality of their touristy versions of the bridge. Bottom line, when you decide to take a photograph of a famous architecture (including any of these famous bridges) from a well-known viewing point, remember you'll never be the last one standing there.

Here is a photograph of the same bridge by Michael Prince, I recently discovered this from the February 2007 issue of PDN magazine World in Focus Contest 2007.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Le Grand Content

A Film by Clemens Kogler together with Karo Szmit. Voice by Andre Tschinder.

Very addictive.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

My 5 things Meme.

I have been tagged by Amy Stein who was tagged by Brian Ulrich who is going to have a lecture at Aperture Gallery, do not miss it! It actually took me a few days to understand what tag is really mean in this situation, I have never been tagged this way before. I am happy I just expended my English vocabulary. So here are my 5 things you might not know:

1, before all the art schools, I have been trained as a professional waiter, by saying professional, meaning I went to a full-time school for 2 years for intensively training as a waiter (my friends at Hollywood were extremely shocked). The training courses were including food serving, walking class, body language, nutrition study, cooking, psychology, science, bed making, wine tasting, basic ballet, speech, etc. The whole training was in a military (prison) style school and I had to bow to everyone walk towards me that is over 20. PS: I was 16. So you think you know about Communism, you have no idea. I am not complaining, I was looking forward to serving some hot shot of sorts which I did. How did I get out of that, that’s going to be a very long story…

2. I dream of being a violinist.

3. I don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t drive, no drug, no tattoo, basically I appear very boring in public, but I am fantastically entertaining in private.
4. I have posed nude.

5. Ok, this is getting freaky. I can mind controlling my body weight when I get very tired, bored, sad or frustrated. I call it Mind Floating. I can make myself feel like floating in the air. NO DRUG is involved (as I stated in meme 3). Cool, huh.

My Tag:
Amy Elkins
Si Sushi
Michael K.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Photos of UFO

I have obsessed about UFO since I was a little kid and have always believed in it. I did saw a UFO when I was about 13 or 14. My grandmother pointed to a tube-shaped object in the sky and telling me how strange that plane was. I should have taken a photo of it, but I did not own a camera at that time. Next day, the photographs of the strange plane were all over the newspapers in Shanghai. How exciting! I would love to find it from newspaper archive someday.

I love photographs of UFO, especially the genuine ones, they are somehow so full of life (in my imagination), you can find many of them on my favorite UFO Evidence. Here is an UFO photograph from 1942 (or, 1911 from other source) in China, one of my favorite UFO photographs. Isn’t it just so evocative to see something that is absolutely a mystery? Oh, and I love the era of pedicab.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

The hotness that is...

Here is a picture of Alec Soth at work, an absolutely hot pic, perfect everything, the gesture, the hair and shoes, the starchy background, the glass of liquid, the actions, the skinny jeans, etc, etc… It’s perfection! If you have not yet read Alec Soth’s Blog, you seriously need to start now. I am curious about what’s that little white paper thing beside that glass, it just adds a little bit of mysterious in it, I am speechless.