The Collection of Excellent Alumni Works from China Central Academy of Fine Arts at Drexel University: The Start of a Long Journey
An exhibition of contemporary art by top graduates from the China Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA), China’s premier art academy, will make its U.S. debut at Drexel University. The exhibition, hosted by the University’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, will be on display at the Leonard Pearlstein Gallery in the URBN Center Annex (3401 Filbert St.) from Friday, Oct. 4 through Friday, Nov. 22.
The exhibition, entitled “The Start of a Long Journey,” features paintings, prints, sculptures and video installations from 24 of the prestigious and highly exclusive academy’s most talented graduating seniors, called “the cream of China’s aspiring artists” by The New York Times in a recent feature on the Beijing opening of the show. The featured works showcase emerging Chinese culture and reflect the distinguished level of fine arts education in China.
“Since its founding 95 years ago, CAFA has built an extensive collection of the outstanding works of its alumni,” said CAFA Vice President Xu Bing, an artist and MacArthur Fellowship recipient. “The collection has become an integral part of the history of fine arts education in China. We are honored to present CAFA graduates’ excellent work at Drexel and introduce them to audiences in the United States.”
CAFA describes the pieces in the exhibition as critical assessments of the previous era of Chinese art, which were shaped by the intellectual trends during the Cold War period as well as traditional Chinese wisdom. Highlights include: “Adding and Subtracting,” a sculpture of books and texts by Wu Wer; “The Landscape in Mist, Fibonacci Mountain,” a multi-dimensional work combining gouache paper, pencil drawings and video by Ye Qiuyang; and Zhang Yifan’s “Elephant” series of digital print-making, acrylic and laser-cutting works.
“CAFA is widely recognized as the most respected academy of Chinese fine arts,” said Dr. Joseph Gregory, head of the Department of Art & Art History in the Westphal College. “A great many of China’s leading contemporary artists have, in fact, graduated from CAFA. For this reason, we are thrilled to have been chosen as the only American venue to show this new work. We hope this exhibition will become a platform for future cooperation and exchange between the Central Academy of Fine Arts and Drexel University.”
In 2012, Gregory arranged an exchange of exhibitions between the CAFA Art Museum and Drexel’s Pearlstein Gallery. As part of this arrangement, nine faculty artists from the Westphal College went to Beijing in September to install their artwork at the CAFA Art Museum. The present exhibition is CAFA’s contribution to this cultural exchange. Future faculty and student exchanges are planned.
The gallery is free and open to the public Monday – Saturday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. An opening reception will be held in the gallery on Oct. 4, beginning at 5 p.m., and will include CAFA dignitaries, such as Mr. Wang Min, dean of CAFA’s School of Design, and Wang Huangsheng, director of the CAFA Art Museum.