Josie and Her Favorite Art Pieces

1. Girl Who Walks Alone at Night, Film by Ana Lily Amirpour, 2014. The “first Iranian vampire Western”, the film shines due to it’s amazing cinematography and soundtrack. But also, let’s be honest, I’m also a sucker for a quirky love story between a teenage vampire who blasts the Smiths and a petty drug dealer with a heart of gold.

2. “The Garden” Chen Qiulin (2007). Chen Qiulin is a contemporary Chinese artist concerned with the toll rapid urbanization has upon Chinese society.  I was initially drawn to her work in 2008 because she featured Chinese opera, and her work has provoked me to think critically about the Chinese government ever since . 

3.“En” by Shiryu Morita (1967). 3Shiryu Morita’s piece, “Ryu”, in the Art Institute’ Ando Gallery blew me away with it’s vibrancy
and strength. As a calligraphy class failure, it was inspiring to see calligraphy in a different and more radical light. 

4. Ren Hang is a Chinese photographer known for his provocative,  surreal, and playful photographs depicting Chinese sexuality and youth. He is one of my favorite photographers to date.  It really wrecks me to think about how Chinese censorship of his work ultimately contributed to his worsening mental health and suicide in February 2016. 

5. Sanyu 1901-1966.  He was one of the few Chinese artists living in France during the early 20th century. Known as the Chinese Matisse for his sensuous linework. 

6. Ha Bik Cheun  1925-2009, Hong Kong. Ha was better known as a photographer in his life, but after his death, it was discovered he had been a prolific collage artist. His work raises questions about who is honored and excluded in the narrative of art history. 

7. In the Mood for Love by Wong Kar Wai is a movie of restrained emotions and lush surroundings. I’ll admit the plot is quite slow
and it is incredibly frustrating to watch Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung’s characters dance around their emotions. However, the set design, the pacing, and the soundtrack make up for all of that in my mind at least.

8. At first I had first learned of Rainer Maria Rilke’s “For the Sake of a Single Verse” as an undergraduate.  I had my head buried in my books so I barely took heed of the verses. Now older and wiser, Rilke’s words. Now older and wiser, I hold his words close to my heart, especially the line, “For the sake of a single verse, one must have memories of many nights of love, none of which was like the other”. 

9. Shoji Ueda is a surrealist Japanese photographer (1913-2000), best known for his sand dune photographs on the Tottori dunes by his house. He surprisingly did not work with the primary Japanese art movement of the 1960’s,  Provoke, which produced more political work. His use of negative space in his photos has inspired me inmy own work. 

10. Stella Lai, 1985-present.  Her art is some of my favorite contemporary Chinese art to date. I love how she uses traditional elements of Chinese design to critique the Hong Kong’tourist industry’s pandering to Orientalism. 

11.  Nobuyoshi Araki ,1940-present, is a Japanese photographer known for his provocative and highly sexual work. While his art has over-saturated the internet lately (Japanese woman in bondage is always in vogue), his art’s bold compositions are timeless in my mind. 

12. Mae West Lips, scultpture in the form of a sofa,  Salvador Dali 1937. I first saw this sculpture at the Chicago Museum
of Contemporary Art’s Pop Art Design exhibit. This exhibit introduced me to the Italian Disco architects who believed architects had an important role in addressing systematic exploitation in the discotheque.