Tomaselli’s Gingerly Approach to China

Fred Tomaselli has an opening in Shanghai—to coincide with SH Contemporary— where no one collects his work and talks to the Wall Street Journal’s Scene Asia blog about Chinese artists:

WSJ: Have you looked at much Chinese art?

Tomaselli: I only have this very superficial relationship with contemporary Chinese art, and I’m not paying as much attention as I probably should. Yun-Fei Ji is great, and I like Ai Weiwei and Hu Bing, whose work is really interesting, as is work from Liu Xiaodong, who was showing at Mary Boone, doing pictures of Chinese minorities, kind of in a realistic style reminiscent of Eric Fischl.

WSJ: Does your work attract Chinese buyers?

Tomaselli: No, I don’t think so. [Gallery Director Arthur Solway confirms this.] There are aspects of Asian culture in my work, but it’s really rooted in an American experience — transcendentalism, ’60s counterculture, punk rock. These are specific cultural manifestations, so I’m not sure if my work translates to other cultures outside of that. I’d like to think that it does, but I can’t claim universality. I have a lot of enemy-isms that are battling in my work. Psychedelia, pop art — it’s all sort of floating around in there. I’m just a conductor for a chorus of voices.

China Blows Fred Tomaselli’s Mind (SceneAsia/Wall Street Journal)