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Chinese contemporary art exhibit opens in Washington
Updated: 2009-03-25 14:34

WASHINGTON -- Two leading culture institutions from China and the United States kicked off an exhibition of Chinese contemporary art here Tuesday, the first exhibit of its kind in the US capital.

The "Metropolis Now! A selection of Chinese Contemporary Art," co-organized by the National Art Museum of China and the Meridian International Center, and showcasing 52 pieces of modern art works from 31 artists, is aimed at commemorating the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the United States, organizers said.

"Diversified lives, changing landscapes, and cosmos of new ideas feature today's China in its 30th year of reform and opening-up, which empowered artistic creation when history is being made everyday, everywhere," Chinese Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong said in his opening speech at the event.

"Culture has the most straightforward and effective power in bridging peoples. The United States has the most developed cultural industry in the world and China boasts abundance of cultural resources," he said.

"It is not a surprise that dynamic and active cultural exchange programs between China and the United States complement the two cultures and enrich the lives of so many," Zhou said.

The ambassador also pointed out that during past 30 years, cultural exchanges between the two nations are on a steady and rapid rise, which have laid a solid foundation for all-around China-US relationship.

"Who 30 years ago could have imagined today's exhibition that depicts the economic ties and growth binding our two nations together?" said Stuart W. Holliday, president of the Meridian International Center.

"In fact, a lot of today's challenges are the ones we are facing together," he said.

Holliday said the art works being displayed in the exhibit are powerful examples of the role the artists as cultural diplomats.

"Moreover, the exhibition highlights a number of global trends which the United States and China face together, including globalization and urbanization," he said.

"Our center is honored to take this opportunity to mark 30 years of friendship between the two countries and to experience the power that the exchange of art has in building mutual understanding," said Holliday.

Fan Di'an, director of National Art Museum of China, said aside from being the first contemporary Chinese art exhibition in Washington D.C., the event is also the first joint cultural program that builds on joint conception, joint planning and joint execution of the art institutions between the two countries.

"The event will bring us together not only physically, but also psychologically," he added.

The exhibition will run for four months at the Meridian International Center,a nonprofit organization for cultural exchange with the support of the US government.

Founded in 1960, the center's members are mainly former US diplomats and it is viewed as a bridge for foreign art to enter the mainstream US society.