A little over a month ago I attended a U.S.–China Museum Leaders Forum in Shanghai sponsored by Asia Society and The Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries. Alongside the conference we were able to visit the gigantic studio of the artist Zhang Huan near Shanghai. Some of these photos reveal the range of his work including monumental sculptures of unusual materials. The large scale painting based on a historical event is executed with the ash from incense and produced an overpowering aromatic presence. This brings to mind Zhang Huan’s ash covered sculpture head currently on view here at the Phillips. You can find it on the second floor in the installation A Tribute to Anita Reiner. The artist appropriates a material that resonates with meaning from Buddhist temple tradition.
See behind the scenes of the making of Diocco, an original mural painted for the Phillips by Senegalese artists Muhsana Ali, Fodé Camara, Viyé Diba, and Piniang (Ibrahima Niang). Of the process, Muhsana Ali says, “we started feeding off of each other’s ideas and energy, and the idea of this collaboration between—or relationship between—the United States and Africa started coming through in many different ways.”