The 12th China National Exhibition of Fine Arts Opens at Bonhams New York with Evening of Art and Dignitaries from New York City and China

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Guests including Former New York Governor David Paterson, New York City Cultural Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl, Chairman of China’s National Art Fund and Former Minister of Culture for China Cai Wu and President of the China Artists Association President Liu Dawei celebrate the opening of the 12th China National Exhibition of Fine Arts at Bonhams for its historic first visit to the USA. The exhibition featuring 65 artworks from China’s contemporary artists will be exclusively at Bonhams from July 9 – 17 and is free to the public.

The China Artists Association brings China’s highest and largest national fine arts exhibition, the National Exhibition of Fine Arts, to New York, making its first ever appearance in the U.S. a great milestone achievement in China-US cultural ties.

A wide range of contemporary award-winning Chinese fine art offering insights into China’s changing artistic culture with some of the country’s leading artists--from GenX to Millennials—is featured in the groundbreaking 12th China National Exhibition of Fine Arts (CNEFA), currently on a world tour, with the exhibition’s first and only appearance in the United States taking place at Bonhams, 580 Madison Avenue in New York City from July 9 - 17. It is on view from 9:00am – 5:00pm and open to the public for free.

At Bonhams, the opening of the exhibition was celebrated with a glamorous reception welcoming China’s exhibition to New York City. Officials attending included David Paterson, former New York Governor and Tom Finkelpearl, New York City’s Commissioner of Culture. These American dignitaries were greeted by Chinese cultural officials who curated and sponsored the exhibition Cai Wu, Chairman of China’s National Art Fund and Former Minister of Culture for China and Liu Dawei, renowned artist and President of the China Artists Association. There were proclamations and acknowledgements presented by representatives from several government officials, including: Bill De Blasio, Mayor of the City of New York; Letitia James, Public Advocate of the City of New York; Congresswoman Grace Meng, Melinda Katz, President of the Borough of Queens, NY and City Councilman Peter Koo.

The New York Bonhams official instrumental in organizing the USA visit was Bruce MacLaren, Senior Specialist in Chinese Fine and Decorative Art “On behalf of Bonhams, it is a great honor to be the first and only United States venue for this compelling exhibition organized by the Chinese Artist's Association and the Ministry of Culture of the Peoples Republic of China,” he said. “The sixty-five examples on view are an expression of the vibrancy of contemporary China, they also speak to the deep artistic traditions and 5,000 years of Chinese culture.”

The 65 pieces feature innovative, contemporary and traditional paintings, prints, sculptures, watercolors, mixed media, lacquer and more. There’s also experimental art by Chinese artists from the China mainland as well as from foreign countries, including Chinese-Americans. They were part of a competition which included some 24,000 submissions, resulting in 576 works nominated for and/or receiving awards.

The China National Exhibition of Fine Arts has been at the forefront of the history of fine arts in new China for 65 years with artistic expressions defining the country’s spirit and achievements and illustrating the development and advancement of Chinese society.

“The China National Exhibition of Fine Arts is constantly focusing on “Contemporariness’,” says Liu Dawei, exhibition curator and President of China Artists Association (CAA), sponsor of the international tour. “Our organization is committed to promoting Chinese mainstream art in a globalized context. Chinese artists are at the forefront -- with their global peers -- of creative movements to retain the traditions of local heritage while embracing new ways to globally interpret history, reality and social responsibility.”

The milestone exhibition also recognizes the 65th anniversary of the establishment of the People’s Republic of China. It is China’s largest art exhibition of its kind with respect to artists’ participation, audience reach, coverage by media and national impact. Exhibitions have been held to cultivate and foster art talent every five years since 1949. The 12th China National Exhibition of Fine Arts previously toured New Zealand. Following its United States presentation at Bonhams in New York City, it travels to Italy and Japan before returning to China. Some works of top honorees on view are:

Gold Prize winner
He Hongzhou --“Scenery on Bridge” -- In this oil painting, the artist captures the powerful, elegant figures of three modern Chinese pioneer artists who were forerunners in advancing Chinese fine arts and promoting exchanges between China and the world.    

Silver Prize winner
Li Chengmin -- “The Founding Ceremony: Long Live the People” -- This oil painting is inspired by the 1949 ceremony when Chairman Mao Zedong solemnly declared the founding of the People’s Republic of China amid more than 130,000 people holding red flags and slogans in excitement.

Bronze Prize winner
Jiang Yong’an -- “Fading Figures: Portraits of Chinese ‘Comfort Women’” -- The artist arranges paintings on paper of aging former comfort women, who during World War II were forced or tricked by Japanese troops into sexual enslavement. The sufferings and traces of age appear on the women’s faces.

“This exhibition informs the world-- perhaps for the very first time -- of our contemporary artists’ open vision of self-expression. Their courage to probe artistic communication with the rest of the world,” says Tao Qin, Vice Secretary General of CAA. “The diversified art languages of contemporary Chinese artists are reflected on this international tour. We hope this world tour inspires artistic dialogue and exchange with other artists.”    

The 12th China National Exhibition of Fine Arts is organized by the China Artists Association and funded by the China National Arts Fund. It is co-sponsored by the China National Ministry of Culture and the China Federation of Literary and Art Circles.

“As a symbol of our culture, Chinese fine arts bears the historical imprint of the progress and development of the Chinese nation. It records the noble ideal and spiritual pursuit of Chinese culture,” explains Cai Wu, Chairman of the China National Arts Fund and China’s former Minister of Culture. “Today, the China Artists Association brings China’s highest and largest national fine arts exhibition, the National Exhibition of Fine Arts, to New York, making its first ever appearance in the U.S. a great milestone achievement in China-US cultural ties. I believe the quality, rich content and high artistic value of Chinese fine arts illustrated by this exhibition will help foster in-depth exchanges in culture and art in this new era between the two countries.”

CAPTION:

Ribbon Cutting (L-R): Dessa Goddard, Vice President/Director Asian Works of Art, North America atBonhams; Bruce MacLaren, Senior Specialist of Chinese Fine and Decorative Art at Bonhams; Tao Qin, Vice Secretary General of China Artists Association; Michael Nussbaum, Government and Public Relations Strategist Tom Finkelpearl, Commissioner of New York City's Department of Cultural Affairs; Cai Wu, Chairman of China National Arts Fund, and former Minister of Culture of the People's Republic of China; a Representative from the Chinese Consulate; Liu Dawei, Chairman of China Artists Association; and a renowned artist globally; artist Ma Xinle, curator of the 12th China National Exhibition of Fine Arts - New York Exhibition

PHOTO CREDIT: Barry L. Mason

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