37 countries have come together at Somerset House with designs inspired by utopia. Scattered throughout the venue, each country responded to utopia differently – some focused on utopia’s political ideals, some created ways to provide aid and equality while one immerses you in a virtual reality. With 37 countries explaining their concepts, there is a lot of information to absorb. Not to worry. Cooper Hewitt’s technology pen allows you to tap the icon on each information didactic. Once you have tapped each wall label you want to remember, you can log on to the website and find the information you wanted to save ready to download to your computer. Pretty cool.
Daalaan // Pakistan
Otium and Acedia // South Africa
Shenzhen: New Peak // Shenzhen, China
Cooper Hewitt // United States of America
Water Machine // Saudi Arabia
Chakraview // India
VR Polis, Diving into the Future // Spain
Human. Touch // Israel
Human. Touch // Israel
The hand scroll Along the River During the Qingming Festival is considered one of the most important works of art in China. Painted on silk by Zhang Zeduan during the Northern Song Dynasty, this work is rarely exhibited. To compensate for the lack of viewing, on permanent display at the China Art Palace in Shanghai is an animated version of the scroll. In a darkened room is a long screen that projects the scroll. Unlike the original scroll, the figures come to life acting out the Qingming Festival for all to see.
M50 is known throughout Shanghai as the city’s contemporary arts district. Home to over 100 art galleries, M50 has transformed itself from a former factory site to a bustling and inventive contemporary art scene. Leading up to the gallery center is the famed artists’ wall. The entire wall is decorated with graffiti works that are constantly changing, echoing the rapidly evolving world of contemporary art.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s most recent exhibition, China Through the Looking Glass, juxtaposed contemporary fashion designers’s elaborate costumes with artifacts from China’s past. Some of the most recognizable designers included Coco Chanel, Christian Dior and Alexander McQueen. Perhaps the most memorable dress in the exhibition was the elaborate gold ballgown by Chinese designer Guo Pei. Inspired by Buddhism, the base of the dress was created to resemble the lotus flower, a symbol for purity as it grows out of murky water. Here, Pei showcases traditional Chinese culture in a modern, Western style ballgown. With the merger of the East and the West, this show explores the connections between these two cultures and the influences China has on Western designers. This blockbuster show received such high praise from viewers that it was extended by two weeks and became one of the most visited exhibitions in Met history.