academic research

Zhang Zikang: From “Peeking” and “Watching” to Focus on “Private” and “Public”...

2018-10-08 19636 read

As one of the brand exhibitions of CAFA Art Museum, “The Beijing Photo Biennial” has been held twice successfully with themes of “Aura and Post-Aura” and “Unfamiliar Asia”.……

Cultivator: Four Themes to Review Dai Ze’s Oil Paintings...

2018-10-06 3578 read

The 97-year-old Dai Ze is a representative of the second generation of Chinese oil painters, who learned from Xu Beihong, one of the founders of modern Chinese art, and was taught by multiple distinguished artists and masters.

Beyond Entertainment, “Re-recognize Game”: Art Exploration and Function of Game in the Art Museum...

2018-09-17 10458 read

“CAFA Art Museum hopes that through sorting out and presenting the cultural issues concerning game art in the exhibition, it can lead this emerging art form to draw more attention and discussion in the academic system of fine arts, and explore the deep influence brought by games nowadays on visual arts as well as other fields. At the same time, it expected that people who come to visit and experience the show could pay more attention to serious games that involved in domains such as education, medical treatment, social practice and future imagination. It also anticipated that the humanistic care and social philosophies reflected in the exhibition would evoke new thinkings and possibilities for the future of the game and human beings.”                               Zhang Zikang, Director of the CAFA Art Museum Games that sold more than one billion copies easily, such as “Minecraft”, “Monument Valley”, “Kingdom Come: Deliverance”, “Sky”, “Gorogoa”, “Human Resource Machine”, have taken up many people’s fragments of spare time with its powerful genes of addiction. It is said, for example, that one in seven people in China plays the hottest game “Arena of Valor”. Skipping from the  “trifles” of the real world to the “construction” of the game world, game designers transcode the deep logic of the world into game language, which covers many themes across multiple fields, including digital media, visual communication and philosophy. For this reason, more than ever, the reviewing of the game requires to be carried out from various areas. “Monument Valley” is a mobile puzzle game developed and published by USTWO Games in 2014. The player leads the princess Ida through mazes of optical illusions and fights crow people in the process while interacting with the environment to find hidden passages to the map’s exit. (Original text from Baidu Encyclopedia)From video game first appeared in the late 1960s until mobile terminal has popularized today, electronic games have achieved great success of high industrialization during dozens of years. Many large-scale games of various and complex types are exquisitely designed in the internal logic and spectacular visual effects. Instead of playing with simple logic that the avatar attributes become more powerful as the level goes up, players can gradually develop the main characters of their own features in the process of upgrading weapons and fighting enemies. With the further development of industrialization, a successful “game” is welcomed by fastidious players only when it excels in technology, design, concept and innovation, which therefore requires the involvement of first-class art and concept designers, software engineers and cutting-edge AI technology. “Minecraft” is a sandbox video game released in 2009 and it has no specific goals to accomplish. Players can freely move throughout a world to destroy or build items with a variety of different blocks, and it can be a wood house, a castle, and even a city. Through creating things, players can gain the experience of being the owner in their created world. (Original text from Baidu Encyclopedia)With the opening of “Play Beyond the Game: The First Grand Exhibition of Art and Serious Games” , CAFA Art Museum expressed its stance of accepting “game art” by displaying game works in the art museum, and it is undoubtedly an initiative practice of this kind. Using the means of game and the form of exhibition to show the charm of the “ninth art”, visitors are able to think of games and serious games again, to directly feel the interaction of game productions, to understand the design and creation process of each game, to see with their eyes a large number of creation manuscripts and video recordings provided by the game designers, and thus to collate and redefine the cultural gene of the game. Rules and system: awareness of gameIt is said that the oldest game in human history traces back to the Senet around 3200 BC. Senet was once a popular board game in Egypt, and its remains have been frequently found in tomb paintings and funerary objects. Despite a recreational game, Senet also had serious symbolic meaning. The Senet gameboard is a grid of 30 squares which called a house, and some squares are marked with hieroglyphs. The squares without hieroglyphs represent the houses of the god, and each player has to bear all pawns off the board. The whole process is conceived as a symbol of the journey to the afterlife and the game is the bridge to connect life and death, the spiritual meaning of which is also emphasized in “The Egyptian Book of the Dead”. “White Night” is an adventure puzzle game developed by Osome Studio and published in 2015. Its unique artistic style enables players to be intoxicated with the atmosphere of the black movie. (Original text from Baidu Encyclopedia)As a kind of carrier of rules, game shows its artistry in the system, story, shooting script, and even the ultimate worldview. Go, for example, is regarded as having the most elegant and beautiful rules so far, and its influence on the thinking of conflict, concentration, indirect management and direct control is never out of date.Until now, the form of the game has accelerated more than ever. For game players who born in the late 80s and early 90s, digital games started from homemade RPG (Role-playing game), while for people who born after 2000, the first impression of digital games is recreational games on mobile devices or 3A games playing in the platforms of console and PC. It might be considered as a process of new technology replacing the old one, a course of advanced game mechanics substituting that of the backward, and a kind of evolution of irreversible aesthetics. “Lumino City” is a puzzle game that the game scene is created with real model materials and the player has to manipulate a girl called Lumi to search for her grandad. Apart from the puzzle style, the biggest characteristic of this game depends on the handmade game environment that built on real miniature models.The evolution of technology has enabled digital games to exert influence on players in many aspects: from geographic design and physical engine to soundtracks and characters…it almost combines a variety of categories, such as dance, architecture, narrative, improvisational drama, music, painting and movie, which thus promoted the possession of a comprehensive art form within the nature of the game. For game designers, the most direct and concise core of creation is the study of game rules and the refinement of expression. “Kingdom Come: Deliverance” is an action role-playing video game developed by Warhorse Studio. It is set in the middle ages and features nonlinear quest lines and an open world environment which encourages immersive first-person combat, bringing an innovation revolution in many ways.The ultimate worldview of the game is also regarded as the typical element for its aesthetic grade. For example, the first “Metal Gear” game reveals a spirit of compassion and conveys the horror to the nuclear threat and the value of peace through vivid expression of movie that can be claimed as a game version of “Apocalypse Now”; “Metal Gear 2” explores the paradox between clone technology and self-recognition; and “Metal Gear 3” turns the hero character into an ordinary person… “Metal Gear” series let us witness how the real-life suffering and hardships are reflected in the games, and also amazed at the producer Hideo Kojima’s dual talent in the field of movie and game. In the forum of “CAFA Game Art Exhibition”, Yoji Shinkawa, the illustrator of “Metal Gear” series, had a wonderful conversation with Yoshitaka Amano, another famous Japanese game designer, as they are both God-like figures involved in the game production for their respective game types. Game as the carrier of digital media artThe game developers have made various novel attempts in the gameplay at the aesthetic level, as not only game rules and systems are of artistic, but the visual presentation and attribute of emphasizing interactive experience within games can be viewed as artistic elements as well. A majority of artworks can achieve the state of interaction, that is, an interaction between the creator and the audience, which is actually a one-way communication, while games integrate the form of digital media with players’ new requirements and as a result change the relationship of the receiver and the media – from passive acceptance to active control, and then to active participation. “DragonBox” is an educational game series featuring its unique gameplay. It has five "worlds" with twenty levels each, and beating each level allows the dragons that the player possesses to grow into a new, more advanced form.Some games imitate the relationship of cooperation or competition between people in reality. This kind of high imitation inevitably contains the divisions and conflicts between race, gender, region and class, and there is not any language communication (language in the narrow sense) with each other from a random summoning, but it guarantees a natural process in which people can establish a relationship of mutual trust from strangers.When we claim that the game is only a pure fiction, we don’t realize that the so-called “fiction”  possesses a kind of authenticity beyond reality, as said by French philosopher Jean Baudrillard. It is assumed that all great game designers holding dreams of reforming visual art, like all artists, movie directors, eminent writers and poets, dive into this brand-new industry and lift the media characteristic of the industry as a potential technology to the aesthetic level as much as possible.“Walden” is a video game developed by USC Game Innovation Lab. It translates the experience of Henry Thoreau’s stay at Walden Pond in 1845: surviving through self-sufficient living, enjoying solitude, seeking inspiration in nature, and living a deep life. (Original text from Baidu Encyclopedia)Game designers usually focus on creating games that its visual system can be readily accepted by those who had known nothing about digital games, either it is to put the most ancient game forms (such as Rock Scissors Paper, Rubik’s cube) into a new one, or to make efforts on the categorization of video games at the level of visual art, both of which requires their extraordinary imagination and humanistic care. Of course, it is just the integration of all these idealized visions with the latest technology of digital media that makes the unique visual innovation and experience possible.Nicky Case created a series of interactive web games that generate people’s discussion, such as “We Become What We Behold”, “Parable of the Polygons”, and he tells some profound truth of sociology through simple interactions within the game.Apart from its recreational function, the game as the carrier of digital media has been experimented by game developers in interdisciplinary fields, including art, physics, medical treatment and other social disciplines. For example, “Variant: Limits” – bringing the game into the teaching of college education, “R-mission” – helping children with cancer to fight against the disease by presenting the cancer treatment process, “Minecraft” – allowing players to learn history through famous historical scenes and Chinese classical architectures that restored in the game world, “DragonBox Numbers” – using the form of game to illustrate basic mathematics for learning, “Walden” – using the means of game to interpret the essence of the world literary classics. At the same time, expressing art concepts through the game is increasingly being used in the contemporary art field. “ARTé: Mecenas” is a simulation game. The player is set in the background of Italian Renaissance as a member of the Medici family to establish a personal business empire through investing in artists, churches and potential cities, and then push forward the historical process with the production of art masterpieces. It is regarded as a useful way to learn art history and art-related skills.A game with cultural “gene” does not mean it is entirely without “addiction”, as the game still need to be restricted to a system of rules and attract more exploration and discussion in public areas of society, such as in an art museum. From these perspectives, it is easy to see the significance of the exhibition “Play Beyond the Game” since it is held in the CAFA Art Museum that is affiliated to a distinguished university with deep cultivation. Through an authentic experience, visitors – the “participants of the game” who come to the exhibition can get a profound understanding of how the game enter the discourse system as an art form.Author: Wang Jing (General Editor, the official website of CAFA Art Museum)

Wang Chunchen: MoMA’s Curatorial Procedures...

2011-12-26 1598 read

MoMA has a large audience everyday. People speak different languages are attracted by its fame. Therefore, the guide map of MoMA is written in several languages, and the staff have to engage in public communciation with the multilingual audience.Today MoMA's high worldwide popularity and reputation today cannot be separated from its publicity determined at the beginning of its establishment.MoMA is a private art museum, but this is simply because it was built with private investment. It is not a private property, but an art gallery built based on an individual’s love of art. It has set up a director board, established various fund-raising mechanisms and set up seven departments classified by media. But its Education Department and Development Department are the upper and lower links in the extension and preparation of its exhibition projects. All the activities are targeted at the public, not for private parties or gatherings of refined scholars. All the art museums claim that they are communal and public-facing, but why do art museums such as MoMA have achieved such social impact? There must be some inevitable logic and procedures involved.Previously, I did not understand why foreign art museums have developed into such a status,and I assumed it was due to historical factors. However, this explanation made no sense. As I visited more muesums and communicated with more relevant personnel, it became more and more clear that it was the social system that ensured the museums to exist and develop, instead of the museum’s own independent operation or self-sufficiency. Art museum is a public platform. It can only build and develop based on the society’s support and approval. This kind of management and operation of art museum It is because the society has a strong identification with and sense of value of public cultural institutions that this kind of museum management and operation can exist, that the museums can obtain such social support and legal system to support the survival and development of relevant cultural mechanisms. If we ignore the support and framework of legal systems when we learn about art museums in the United States, it’s impossible to build an art museum by relying solely on the state financial allocation.On the premise of people’s high recognition of social culture and education, the law provides tax exemption and reduction for the act of donating artworks to and sponsoring art museums. With this legal measure of income redistribution, people from all ranks of society have the motivation and enthusiasm to support the society’s common cultural undertakings, as well as a sense of honor and social participation. Because the development of art museums and the holding of exhibitions are supported and sponsored by social citizens and companies, it is equivalent to using the image power of culture and art to integrate different social groups, communities and different interest groups, and to reflecting the publicity of society in an artistic way. Any cultural idealism will be difficult to fulfill without such a social legal framework. The development of modern society takes society as one unit. This social unit is not only a group, an enterprise, a foundation, but also an individual, and modern countries highly trust and authorize this social unit. For example, the U.S government does not have a Ministry of Culture or a Publicity Department to take charge of the cultural and artistic undertakings. Instead,it allows members of society to operate these activities. This is the relationship between a small government and a large society. This is what we mean by putting the country first. The country only provides legal framework, and it’s provided by the country in the form of law, instead of government. The government is only a social service unit, an institution that p rovides support and services to many other social units. Therefore, the government tries to make different social units to work on such cultural and artistic activities by themselves, which allows government institutions to focus only on the implementation of social public administration. Therefore, there appear a variety of corporate and individual foundations. Corporate companies and individuals allocate a percentage of their wealth to the foundation annually as an art fund. For example, Bill Gates of Microsoft donated his own property and established a foundation to sponsor various social public utilities, including collecting artworks, sponsoring cultural institutions, sponsoring cultural art and academic research, etc. The United States is filled with foundations. Many big families, enterprises, individuals, and even artists have established their own foundations. When we visit an important art exhibition, we will notice that it is supported by various companies, foundations and individuals. This enables art projects and exhibitions to be executed and implemented, and ensures the solemnity and high standard of cultural and artistic projects.In MoMA, when curators from different departments (MoMA has 40 curators) present their exhibition plans, they would first report to their own department’s Chief Curator, then to MoMA’s exhibition committee after Chief Curator approved of it. This committee is composed of around 20 people, including MoMA's Director, Deputy Director, Chief Curators of all Departments, the Education Department and the Development Department. Every two months they hold a regular meeting. At the meeting, the curator of the proposed exhibition would make a presentation for about 20 minutes. The main theme, program design, time, required exhibition hall and budget are supposed to be introduced to the committee. During the presentation, committee members will ask questions that the proposer need to respond to, especially questions regarding the budget. At the same time, the Education[2]  Department will raise issues in terms of public education. If the exhibition also involves publications (such as exhibition catalogue, research publications, etc.), the proposing curator should also report the cost of the publication to the committee, such as number of pages, size of the book, how many articles will be included, resume of the authors to invite and reasons for inviting them (for example professionalism of a certain research field, or academic ability of the writer), cost arrangement, etc. After the meeting, the proposer will exit and the main decision-makers of the committee (approximately 8-10 people) will decide if this exhibition proposal should be accepted or not.Once the exhibition is approved, the Development Department will choose the foundations or institutions to seek sponsorship from based on the fund-raising resources and targets. Those people who have been dealing with sponsors for a long time know how to write sponsorship proposals, which institutions will be interested in what types of exhibitions, how to help their sponsors gain reputation and good public image. On the other hand, the Education Department create public education events according to the exhibition, such as activities, exhibition guide (including single-page and fold-page guide, posters, audio guide, introduction materials in different languages), lectures, relevant films, relevant educational programs (aimed at students of different ages and social families), etc. They will also propose the rhetoric of text according to the public’s habits, avoiding excessive academic vocabulary and unfamiliar vocabulary, so as to make the exhibition guide more understandable and acceptable by the educated, general public. After the exhibition proposal was approved, the proposing curator should do sufficient research, write text, analyze the exhibition context and organize works to exhibit from the museum’s own collection or other collections (it takes a lot of time to discuss the feasibility of borrowing works, if there are any replaceable works, insurance and logistics, etc.). After all of these are prepared, the materials will be handed over to MoMA’s Publications Department to design the catalogue and organize the printing work. The catalogue should be completed before the opening of the exhibition, and the promotion work should also be done by then. They spent a lot of energy on research during the preparing process, to make certain where to find the works, to have a thorough grasp of the exhibition's core concept, and to invite writers to write about the exhibition. Each curator usually has two to three exhibition projects carried out at the same time. The exhibition period generally last one to two years. The assistant curator would do some basic tasks such as data arrangement and research support, etc.MoMA’s exhibition planning and preparation works and a series of public education programs following the opening of the exhibition are conducted according to a set of stipulated procedures, which are rigorous and orderly, positive and effective. The  Education Department organizes all kinds of programs and activities according to the exhibition, and gather feedbacks from the visitors, so as to put public service in the first place. They need to not only prepare all kinds of introduction materials for the visitors to access easily, but also maintain the order of the exhibition site strictly, such as having staff to inform the audience in the case when photography is not allowed in some special exhibitions. The exhibition staff wear uniform clothes and badges with their name and photos on, neat and solemn, and distinguished from the audience. They need to inform  and help the audience, and pay attention to their behaviors to prevent them from touching exhibits and maintain the safety of the exhibition site. Usually there are instruction boards at the entrance to inform people the maximum capacity of a certain exhibition hall. If the  visitor number exceeds the maximum capacity, the staff would inform the audience to wait in the queue, and remain orderly and quiet. The exhibition staff are part of the museum crew. They are responsible for the audience’s entry and exit and the exhibitions’ opening and close. Their behaviors and images are the important image of the museum, modest, polite, serious, responsible, and graceful. These tiny details exactly reflect their professionalism. I don’t know when some Chinese art museums started to hire staff from the outside property companies, but this operation needs to be further discussed in terms of museum management, understanding of museum’s functions, and the museum’s long-term development. When the audience enters the museum, except for the museum architecture and the exhibited works, it is the staff at the exhibition site that they directly meet and contact with. So the staff's behaviors actually represent the image of the museum, and the publicity of the museum is reflected through them first-hand. Although they don’t speak most of the time, their influences cannot be underestimated.MoMA is divided into different departments by medium, so that works of different categories are collected by different departments. The Photography Department keeps its collections next to its office. Entry and exit require unlocking the door, with the room   kept at a low temperature.There are 24,000 works in the photography collection, sorted into different categories and placed in steel cabinets. Color photography is placed in freezers and wrapped with tin foils. Curators of Photography Department can access the collections for daily research, and there are workbenches and lamps, which is very convenient. Other departments also collect works separately. In addition, MoMA has a separate collection storage in the Queens for large-scale works.MoMA’s archival collection is also very complete. Whenever an exhibition is over, all departments should arrange archives and submit to the Museum Archives Department for future reference and research. MoMA’s Education and Research Center also has a rich collection of books, catalogues and materials for MoMA’s researchers to access. It’s also very convenient for the public to refer to upon appointment. The museum’s publicity is also reflected on the accessibility of books and other materials to the public.In the past, art museums were mainly object-based, and the most important job was to collect works and take good care of them. But now art museums are more people-oriented, and focus more on how to serve the audience well. There has been a great concept revolution which has led to changes in the design and daily management of art museums. New ideas and methods have thus been developed, which makes art museums more and more friendly and socially cohesive. We could say that art museums are a sublime cultural platform and a symbol of social civilization in today’s developed countries. All museum staff enjoy a social status that is admired and respected.                                              New York, November 17, 2011Published in the December 2011 issue of Oriental Art MasterTranslated by Wang WeiweiProofread by Lu YufanEdited by Zheng Lijun
Quick loginAccount login
  • Mobile phone number will be your login ID
Use Artron membership to login