United Nations Hosts Exhibit of Contemporary Chinese Farmers’ Art

  • NEW YORK, New York
  • /
  • May 19, 2014

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Chinese Farmers’ Art, the genre that is gaining in popularity among folk artists of rural China, will be on view at the United Nations headquarters in New York City for three days, May 21- 23. The exhibition will be followed by a benefit auction at Gianguan Auctions New York on Sunday May 25th.

Entitled “World Mind-China Dream,” the UN exhibition features more than 80 folk paintings selected from regions across China by the Chinese Peasant’s Calligraphy and Painting Research Association. The rustic, often quirky, works-of-art offer vibrant and personal interpretations of country life in China, with an emphasis on local customs, festivals, children, and farm work. Easily comparable to Outsider Art, Chinese Farmers’ Art is naif, insightful and instantly appealing. 

Created by rural artists with little or no training, the paintings are primarily gouache watercolors on rough paper. The compositions range from simple to complex, with some employing the hard-edged “keyline" technique of China’s propaganda posters while others display abstractions reminiscent of Matisse and Picasso. China’s rich mythology and design heritage also play a role in the telling of the stories that range from singular topic representations to complex genre paintings.  

Chinese Farmers’ Art got its start in the 1950s when the communist party encouraged rural communities and members of the army to engage in the making of art. Notably, the farmers’ vision of the Communist paradise was straightforward, appealing in both its intensity and insightfulness, a characteristic inherent in the best folk art. In the 1980s as China began to expand its influence worldwide, Chinese Farmers’ Art began to be shown internationally. This is the first time Farmers’ Art is being shown at the United Nations.

Three regions of China dominate the rural art scene. They are Jilin and Shanghai Fengxian, Jinshan District, Shaanxi Huxian. Although some of the Farmer Artists represented in the exhibition have studied at institutions such as the Jinshan Peasant Painting Academy, many others are auto-didacts. 

Following the exhibition, the works on view will be auctioned off for the benefit of the Farmers’ Art communities. The benefit auction will be conducted on Sunday, May 25th at Gianguan Auctions New York, located at 295 Madison Avenue. The works can be previewed at Gianguan Auctions on Saturday, May 24th. Bidding can be done in person or on the Internet at www.gianguanauctions.com.

“World Mind-China Dream” enjoys the sponsorship of the Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of China, the International Health & Environment Organization, Chinese Peasants Calligraphy and Painting Research Association and the Dongfeng County People’s Government, Jilin Province, China.  

Gianguan Auctions New York is the city’s only fully Chinese-American owned and operated auction house. Its CEO and Chief Auctioneer Kwong Lum is a noted artist and scholar. An alumnus of Ontario College of Art in Toronto, Canada, he has been honored by the Chinese government which funded the Kwong Lum Museum in Xinhui district in the city of Jiangmen.

The United Nations headquarters is located at 405 East 42nd Street. “World Mind-China Dream” will be on view May 21- 23, 9:15 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.  The paintings can be previewed at Gianguan Auctions New York, 295 Madison Avenue, Saturday, May 24th, 11:00 -7:00 p.m. The benefit auction begins at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 25.

Gallery Director
Gianguan Auctions

Gianguan Auctions
295 Madison Avenue
New York, New York

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