Many people find that art is distant and irrelevant to their
daily lives. So every single day this year, a people-friendly art
and cultural event will pop up somewhere in the city.
The Chinese contemporary art market booms, but art is still far
away from most people's daily lives. This is where "Intrude: Art
and Life 366" comes in, or intrudes: 366 days of this leap year and
often right in front of you.
You will see surprising events. An ordinary house is turned into
a museum one day a month; doves connected with strings are tossed
into the air; a pretty dress will be hung on every tree on a
One the one hand, some artists believe that art is loftier than
life, rather than springing from life. Their works are often
considered irrelevant to daily life and not worth
And it is still uncommon to see art events in public venues
other than galleries or museums. Most galleries care more about
professional art buyers or agents, and museums open their doors to
the public while keeping them at homage-paying distance.
On the other hand, the public is not very interested in
contemporary art either, unless it's related to entertainment
industry or celebrities.
Many artists are grappling with this problem. Some have merged
all kinds of daily essentials like clothes, cosmetics, snacks, or
dishes into artistic creations. Open studios in art centers like
Moganshan Road in Shanghai or 798 in Beijing have also attracted
Enter "Intrude." Organized by the Shanghai Zendai Museum of
Modern Art, MoMA, it began January 1 and will last through December
31-with an event every day in every creative field.
Throughout the year, 366 cultural events will be presented in
public and private venues likes parks, gardens, squares, shopping
areas, ordinary homes and other sites. Around 100 Chinese and 266
international artists will take part in exhibitions, site-specific
installations, performances, concerts, film screenings, debates,
and other events.
"The project aims to intervene in people's daily life, draw
their attention to art happenings and stimulate the public debate
on art," says Shen Qibin, director of MoMA.
"To intrude in culture is to infiltrate and influence the daily
scenes or situations within a certain time and place. We hope to
narrow the gap between culture and everyday life, making art more
accessible to a broader public."
In order to narrow the gap, the art group Utopia merges public
and private space and created the ninth and ongoing event of the
project on January 9-"Family Art Museum." It will take place every
month in 12 private homes.
The group found ordinary citizens who were interested in art and
willing to open their homes for one day. Then Utopia turned it into
an art museum to display art works from Utopia.
The group uses all existing facilities and spaces like
television, computers, balconies, kitchens and bathrooms to
accommodate the art.
While Utopia takes art to the public, others like American
artist and art writer Mathieu Borysevicz try to turn the public
Borysevicz's project began on January 17. He takes photos of the
workers in a construction site in Shanghai every day and will use
the photos to decorate the wall of the construction site, usually
covered with advertisements.
Moreover, Borysevicz will also lend digital cameras to some
workers so they can record their work and life. The workers' photos
will be compiled into a journal.
And to Chinese artist Wu Junyong, the Internet is a faster and
more convenient way to reach the public.
For his project "Dictionary of Slams," Wu collects frequently
used slams online and selects the most interesting to interpret
At the end of the year, Wu plans to compile a dictionary to
In February, artistic intruders include Australian artist
Annabelle Collett who will hang a dress she made on every tree of a
selected street. Chinese artist Ye Nan will release 500 pigeons on
a selected plaza. All the birds will be connected to each other by
threads to create a large image through their movements. All these
art events will be methodically archived and will be presented
later as international touring exhibitions. Catalogues will be
published regularly on the projects and their issues.
Intrude: Art and Life 366:
Date: through December 31
(Shanghai Daily January 30, 2008)