NEW YORK, NY.-
For the New Commissions exhibition on view this winter, as part of the Three M Project, the New Museum
presents Urban China: Informal Cities, the first U.S. commission of Urban China magazine, the only magazine devoted to issues of urbanism published in China. The magazines global, cross-disciplinary network of correspondents and collaborators merge rigorous methods of data collection and analysis of rapidly developing cities in China, with witty graphic representations of their findings. This dichotomy endows the magazine with an ability to take dense reams of seemingly unrelated information and spin it into digestible narrative webs, suggesting unknown connections that shape the way cities and lives are continually made and remade. Urban Chinas installation at the New Museum is presented simultaneously with works by Jeremy Deller, Daria Martin, and Mathias Poledna for the Three M Project partnership with The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, and the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. The exhibition will be on view in the New Museums lobby gallery through March 22, 2009, and will then travel to the Hammer Museum and The Museum of Contemporary.
Urban Chinas commission includes a built environment of reclaimed construction materials; a massive wall graphic combining photographs, found images, numerical data and maps; a Flash-based, user-navigable database of photographs; and a selected collection of past issues of Urban China magazine. Together, these elements fill the lobby gallery, exploding the magazines radical worldview off its pages and into the physical space of the museum. The wall graphic and related objects examine how informal systemsspatial, economic, and utilitarianact to subvert the highly controlled nature of urban spaces in China. The idea of the informal is especially consequential in light of the rigorous order with which Chinese cities have historically been planned and policed. Informalism refers to notions, objects, and lifestyles that are wrested from their intended use, and remixed into new configurations. For instance, a regulation basketball made in a factory in China can be repurposed as an ad hoc water bucket. For Urban China, informalism is indicative of the way that people can remake their lives, where they live, what they wear, and how they navigate the everyday. In cities in China, and around the world, it is through these remixes that people are able to enact agency and power in their daily lives.
In collaboration with the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation at Columbia University and Volume magazine, an ongoing series of small discussions, panels, screenings, and classes will take place in the gallery, further exploring and expanding how the informal intersects with the urban in Chinese cities as well as in New York. Discussions are free and open to the public.
Urban China: Informal Cities is curated by Benjamin Godsill, Curatorial Associate, New Museum.
Since its inaugural issue in 2005, Urban China magazine, under the guidance of its Editor-in-Chief Jiang Jun, has received accolades from around the world. It was included in the exhibition China Contemporary in Rotterdam in 2006; included as one of the Magazine of Magazines for Documenta 12 in Kassel, Germany in 2007; and was included in the Shenzhen Biennale of Urbanism and Architecture in 2007.
Jiang Jun (b. 1974, Hubei, China) is a designer, editor, and critic and has been the Editor-in-Chief of Urban China magazine since 2005. His work had been presented in numerous exhibitions, including Get It Louder (2007) the 2005 Guangdong Triennial, and the 2005 and 2007 Shenzhen Biennials, among others. He has lectured at universities around the world, including Beijing University, Harvard University, Tokyo University, and Seoul University. Jiang Jun received a BA from Tongji University in Shanghai and an MA from Tsinghua University in Beijing, and is now on the faculty of the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, Guangzhou, China.
THE THREE M PROJECT
In 2004, The Three M Project was conceived and developed together with The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, and the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, to jointly commission, exhibit, and acquire important works of contemporary art by artists whose work has not yet received significant recognition. All three museums share a collaborative vision and entrepreneurial spirit, and the belief that ambitious projects on a national scale can be produced through efficiency, knowledge, and resource sharing. The partnership, now in its second cycle, involves four new commissions by Jeremy Deller, Daria Martin, Mathias Poledna, and Urban China. Together, these projects are presented simultaneously in New Commissions at the New Museum. The Three M Project is directed by leading curators from each museum: Laura Hoptman, Kraus Family Senior Curator, New Museum; Elizabeth Smith, James W. Alsdorf Chief Curator, with Dominic Molon, Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; and Ali Subotnik, Curator, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.