Adam Lindemann is finally looking into Chinese Contemporary art. He narrates his recent trip to China, including a visit to Pace’s new Beijing space and a stop at Zeng Fanzhi’s studio, in the New York Observer:
I found that the Chinese art scene is a whole new world, with different rules and different norms. Artists like Zeng are prestigious celebrities, respected tycoons. Zeng’s studio had a parking lot with a few BMWs and a Bentley. Inside were several wealthy types smoking big cigars and listening to lite FM on a huge stereo. Although the wealthy Chinese visiting the studio told me they were not yet collecting, they were unanimous in telling me that they were ” thinking about it.” For now, for them, hanging out in Zeng’s studio, having tea or playing poker, was about status, not art.
The artist’s new paintings were beautiful scenes of bodies lying in beds of thorn, priced at more than $1 million a piece, and it was unclear (as if often is in Asia) if they were available directly from the studio or only through a gallery. The paintings reminded me of Marcel Duchamp’s amazing Etant Donnes…, and with the studio assistant translating, I asked Zeng if that’s what he was indeed referencing. What I learned was that our concepts of originality and reproduction don’t seem to matter much to the Chinese artist. Zeng looked at me, said, “Aha, Doo-Shaahmm,” and walked over to show me a Balthus he had acquired at last year’s Basel art fair.
Betting on China (Observer)