Shen's art attack

By Mu Qian (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-06-13 09:08

The controversial sculpture by artist Liu Jin entitled Injured Angels.

Many believe Shanghai is destined to become a major economic center. But Shen Qibin, director of Shanghai Zendai Museum of Modern Art, believes the city should enact the more important role of international art center.

To Shen, Shanghai's artistic potential is at least equal to its economic prowess, and artists in Shanghai are inevitably more cosmopolitan than their northern Chinese cousins.

"Shanghai does not stick exclusively to its local culture, as it has always been tolerant and welcoming to foreign cultures," he says. "Shanghai belongs to the world as well as to China."

Shen and the Zendai Museum of Modern Arts have made conspicuous contributions towards achieving the municipality's ambition to be an international arts center. The ongoing "Intrude: Art & Life 366" project, curated by Shen, encompasses 366 art events throughout 2008, which means a different event each day. This makes it one of the boldest projects in the history of Chinese modern art.

The events, which take the form of exhibitions, site-specific installations, performances, concerts, films and debates, have been created by 100 Chinese and 266 international artists and artistic groups. Their exhibition venues include streets, parks, office buildings, squares, department stores - even local households.

Shen acknowledges that contemporary art is still an alien concept to many Chinese people, which is why he has agreed to curate this mammoth project.

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