We met early because I took the opportunity to offer the students insight into the art world. I showed them the binder I created showcasing art school auditions in China. For instance, in 2016, 7,000 art students auditioned/took art exams for Shandong University of Arts and there were only 30 open positions available. This is not uncommon.
I shared the printed materials from the 2011 MAM exhibit, “The Emperor’s Private Paradise: Treasures from the Forbidden City” where Christine and I first met. Telling them it was one of MAM’s top 5 grossing exhibits.
I continued to show and share the difference between private and public art museums. In fall, PBS Newshour did a 10-part series about China including China’s art market focusing on evolving from knockoffs to new works. This led to the discussion about the village of Dafen and continued discussion about a new generation of Chinese art enthusiasts as well as investing in art. More and more wealthy Chinese are opening their own art museums to showcase their purchased works like so many past as well as current wealthy elites have been doing around the world. I provided several examples and pictures of the various private museums.
We participated in the “Drop-in Tour” offered. The tour started with one of MAM’s oldest pieces of art and moved to their contemporary works. The students and Kayson asked many questions and took many pictures. From time to time, I was able to provide ESL and culture examples such as the difference between a shepherd and shepherdress and where the While Cliffs of Dover are located and its significance in history when we stood by Cornelia Parkers’ “Edge of England” installation.
As we approached various works, I also shared pictures when I attended ART IN BLOOM in spring—where florists create floral designs which coordinate with certain pieces of art.
We than attended the current main exhibit “A Modern Vision: European Masterworks from the Phillips Collection.” During the earlier discussion, I also made sure I mentioned some of the artists’ work we will see—Monet, Manet, Kandinsky, Picasso, Bonnard and Cezanne. I told them Cezanne’s work is mostly associated with fruit but, also created landscapes which some can get confused with Monet. And, Degas is work is most associated with ballet dancers but, also sketched horses. Van Gogh’s most familiar work is “Stary Nights” and some sunflowers and to note that Monte also painted sunflowers and iris’s and so did Van Gogh. Another ESL moment was the explanation of art indemnity since the exhibit was supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council of the Arts and Humanities.
Art can be difficult and complicated to learn, understand and observe. I wanted to make understanding art easier and provide various aspects of the art world from China to EU to the US and here in Milwaukee.