With a space as big as an airport hangar, you need a decorating style that’s larger than life. Enter the brand new show at Arsenal, reuniting 13 contemporary Chinese artists who like to make statements – BIG statements…
Arsenal was already among the city’s biggest non-museum art spaces, but as of last week they’ve broken their own records. With a brand new show dramatically titled Like Thunder Out of China, uniting nearly 50 works by contemporary Chinese artists, they revealed a massive (think 22,000 square feet) section of the building that was as of yet unused. Part cavernous exhibition hall, part loading dock, the possibilities for parties (Grand Prix and Fashion Week are already regular clients) are endlessly exciting.
The art on view also does the space justice: The showstopper is the famous Miss Mao 3 by the Gao brothers, an 8-foot-tall stainless steel bust of Mao sporting huge inflated breasts, a creepy doll smile and a Pinocchio nose. (Is it any surprise the work is banned from exhibition in China?) The father of Chinese pop art, Qui Jie, contributes a series of drawings replacing politicians’ heads with those of cats – another sort of derision, only cuter. In fact, all the art was chosen for its cheeky spunk, its dissidence, its ability to comment on the state of China today from within. All the artists included still call China home.
When you hear Chinese art you may automatically think Ai Weiwei – he’s not included in this show, which focuses on the younger generation, but Like Thunder Out of China does mark the Canadian launch of the book Weiwei-isms and MAO, the complete book of his Mao iconography. Check it out in person, in the beautiful Arsenal space.
Like Thunder Out of China, Until July 27, 2013
Arsenal, 2020 William, (514) 931-9978