My blog readers wouldn’t necessarily know it, but I have made a pretty close study of Chinese art, historical and modern, and even written about it. There is a chapter in my book on that topic in fact. My question is always—why is the Chinese avant-garde so bad? And why are westerners so willing to accept it? I was just watching a video of a conversation at the Metropolitan Museum with Huang Yong-ping and Frank Stella. (I don’t recommend it, it’s very dull.) Huang goes on about how he believes that art today should be subversive, but his work is completely conventional and unoriginal, not to mention tediously literary. Stella wants to talk about the past—Caravaggio, Malevich, Paulus Potter and Chinese imperial portraits—yet continues to create. Not such an unusual contrast, but it’s very irritating to hear fatuous Huang get such a platform. He comes on without a clue and walks off oblivious, having learned nothing, and unable to do so. Probably in tight with the communists anyway. A billion people, and no artists. But the
real ones must be suppressed. Stella’s art historical ponderings are eccentric and unprofessional, but very interesting, at least to an artist; Huang just spouts clichés.