Press

‘Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom; 8990’ installed in WeHo Park

——————————————————————-

WEHOVILLE ARTICLE

New WeHo Park Mural Suggests Make Love, Not War
Mon, Nov 07, 2016

By Staff
From the “Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom” series by Mei Xian Qiu.
“Let A Thousand Flowers Bloom; 8990,” a mural by Los Angeles-based artist Mei Xian Qiu, has just been installed in West Hollywood Park. Presented by the City of West Hollywood through WeHo Arts, the large format piece [9 x 9 feet] is located on the ground floor of the five-story parking structure adjacent to West Hollywood Park and West Hollywood Library. It will remain on view through July 2017.

The image is from a series of photographs that imagines a mock Chinese invasion of the United States. Hidden political dangers are suggested, but rather than being urgently addressed, are put aside momentarily, subsumed to the romance of the Chinese cultural revolution-era’s notion of “the beautiful idea.”

While employing familiar symbolism and historical dystopianism, the work also explores the quest for an inner utopia, a theme common to Xian Qiu’s body of work. As well, the piece references the past yet boldly faces the future – affirmatively critical, specifically with respect to globalism, the identity of the self, the social landscape, post-colonialism and that of the larger national body politic.

Mei Xian Qiu
“I thought about if soldiers were countries – what would they do?” said Mei Xian Qiu. “Get into bed with each other, court each other, as governments do? It deals with the issue of identity as something that we create, and how others perceive that in a cultural sense. Especially as urban people, we’ve become so removed from any type of indigenous existence. It leads me to recreate my own fantasy of cultural identity.”

The title plays off Mao Zedong’s quote “Let a hundred flowers blossom, let a hundred schools of thought contend.” Taken from classical Chinese poetry, this line originated in a 1956 speech in which the then chairman of the Peoples’ Republic of China Communist Party seemingly launched a movement supporting liberalization and freedom.

Mao used the slogan to proclaim a great society where free speech and debate would flourish – as a result, artists, academics, and intellectuals came out of hiding and there was a brief flowering of culture. As the campaign gathered pace, intellectuals began to criticize censorship, the Soviet economic model and human rights abuses. Mao had underestimated the amount of dissent and in 1957 altered his speech to say that intellectual freedom was only valid when it contributed to strengthening communism, sending anyone who contradicted into labor camps.

Throughout Mei Xian Qiu’s “Let A Thousand Flowers Bloom” series, the models are Pan Asian and American artists and academics specializing in Chinese culture, the very sorts of people at risk in a Hundred Flowers Movement. The costumes include discarded U.S. military uniforms, cheongsams constructed for the photographs and Chinese mock ups taken from a Beijing photography studio, specializing in outfits for foreign tourists to re-enact Cultural Revolution propaganda imagery.

Mei Xian Qiu’s own story clearly informs her work. She was born in the town of Pekalongan, on the island of Java, Indonesia, to a third generation Chinese minority family – when it was illegal to be Chinese in Java. Her village had no cars, just horse-drawn carts and bicycles.

At birth, her parents gave her multiple names – Chinese, American and Indonesian – in preparation for societal collapse and variant potential futures. In the aftermath of their homeland’s Chinese and Communist genocide, the family emigrated from Java to the United States. During her childhood, she was moved back and forth several times between the two countries as her parents weighed what they perceived as the amorality of life in the West against the uncertainty of life in Java.

Partially as a result of a growing sense of restlessness, her father joined the U.S. Air Force and the family lived throughout the country, sometimes staying in one place for just a month at a time. The artist has also been based in Europe, China, and Indonesia as an adult (www.meixianqiu.com).

8990

 

———————————————————–

 

The Huffington Post
Artists as Activists: Pursuing Social Justice
09/06/2016 10:19 am ET | Updated Sep 06, 2016 by Amy Pleasant

2016-08-30-1472597819-4117364-Xian_Mei_QIu216984.903759.jpg
The Bird Cage by Xian Mei Qiu. Image courtesy of the artist and Gutfreund Cornett Art.

We must never forget art is not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth.
John F. Kennedy

Some might say that the world is a mess right now. Others point out that it could be worse. In our war torn world, it depends on who you are and the place that you live. In light of the ever-growing list of crises crossing all borders and cultures, the curatorial partnership of Guttfreund Cornett Art has mobilized a group of 86 artists to address this escalation of violence, human rights violations, and environmental concerns. Throughout history, art has reflected its time. Art mirrors the aesthetic standard of the day and also provides a window into the historical context of the time. Works such as Andy Warhol’s, Big Electric Chair or Picasso’s Guernica serve as iconic reminders and powerful statements on social issues of their time. Artists often see their place to provoke, to voice, to enlighten. This long-standing role of the artist as activist is at the heart of “Social Change: It Happens to One, It Happens to All”, an art exhibition taking place at Saint Mary’s College of Art in Morago, CA September 18 – December 11, 2016.

Gutfreund Cornett Art’s mission is to create exhibitions in venues around the U.S. on themes of “art as activism.” Karen Gutfreund believes, “There is much that is needed to be said, to make people stop, look and listen, to confront social injustice issues. Art can often say what words cannot. We want to bring powerful artwork to the general public that reflects on these issues and encourages change.”

This exhibition focuses on a broad range of human rights violation issues which have risen dramatically to the surface in the last few years. The exhibition’s statement explains,

“Human rights can no longer be thought of as separate and belonging to a privileged few, but rather that these rights are all interrelated, interdependent and indivisible for all”

This exhibition entangles such hot-button issues as wealth disparity, immigration, racism, gender and equality issues, reform of the criminal justice system, and gun violence. Voice and visual image combine to form a powerful commentary.

The goal of this exhibition is not simply to call attention to these serious problems but to also begin a dialogue. Gutfreund Cornett Art partner, Sherri Cornett states that “One of the main motivators for creating these kinds of exhibitions is the dialog engendered by the works and the communities that form in the process of developing and participating in them. Artists have an opportunity to be part of the discourse. They are shedding light on their own personal experiences with injustice or those endured by others. . . through this shared dialogue, work together to transcend polarities and rediscover our common humanity.”

The exhibition runs September 18 through December 11th and includes work chosen for onsite installation as well as artists chosen to be a part of a digital slide show, For more information and the online catalog see gutfreundcornettart.com.

————————————————————————

 

Fabrik Media

“DRAWN. PRINTED. BOUND.” – Tom of Finland Arts and Culture Festival

September 21, 2016 by Phil Tarley

THE CRITICAL EYE by PHIL TARLEY

DRAWN. PRINTED. BOUND.
Tom of Finland Arts and Culture Festival

October 1 -2, 2016

Shortly after Taschen Books published their gargantuan collection of Tom of Finland’s best work, the Museum of Contemporary Art featured TOF in a major exhibition, effectively bringing his brown paper bagged portraits of male nudes out from porn shops, where the works had always lived. The MOCA exhibit was the first time an American museum mounted a show that showed men mounting each other. When Rizzoli’s TOM HOUSE, published, I went to the David Kordansky Gallery for the book signing party. Kordansky is now selling original works of the Finnish, master-illustrator, for six figure sums. Clearly, TOF has arrived as potent force on the international art scene. Two films, a documentary and a narrative feature are in post production. MOCA’S TOF presentation and the Getty’s companion Mapplethorpe show with LACMA, are break through exhibitions that mirror the Tom Of Finland Foundation’s raison d’être: fighting sex phobia in the art world, and by extension, in the world at large.

This year marks the 21st annual Tom of Finland Art and Culture Festival, and its taking over the entire landmark property, called TOM HOUSE, where Tom of Finland Foundation has operated since 1984. The Festival is one of the key public events initiated and run by the Foundation, and serves as a platform to further its mission of preserving, protecting and promoting erotic art. This year’s program will focus on art and printed matter, with special guests that include artists and independent brands that specialize in printmaking across various mediums within gay culture.

The Festival will encompass works by more than 30 artists, literati and independent brands, both emerging and established, from all over the world. This is one sexy, well hung show. It’s always been daring and fun. Some of the best work have a wild, fierce intensity. Along with art for sale by their makers, an array of entertainment and activities over the course of the two dates are planned. Visitors will also have the opportunity to tour TOM House, including the attic space that served as Tom of Finland’s bedroom and studio.

Durk Dehner, President of the TOF foundation believes that, “art and books have brought beauty into our lives and introduced audiences to the vast span of the wonders of the creative world. The Foundation, with its library and archives, celebrates both artist and publisher at our Festival this year with a sumptuous representation of both.”

Galleries include: Please Do Not Enter, Rick Castro/Antebellum, Round Hole Square Peg/AC Gallery   and Ruben Esparza Curatorial.  Some of the artists represented are: Alton DuLaney, Boston Elements,  Gio Black Peter, Homo Riot, Jeremy Lucida, Lockwood 51, Michael Kirwan, Miguel Angel Reyes, Mei Xian Qiu, Pansy Ass, Starrfucker, Valentine and Van Jazmin. There will be music by RocketManLA.

The fair will be open on Saturday and Sunday from 11 am – 6 PM. And there is a Saturday fashion show and party from 6 -11pm. TOM HOUSE is located at 1421 Laveta Terrace, Los Angeles (Echo Park). Visit Eventbrite for tickets or the Foundation for more information. HERE

Tagged ,

Phil Tarley

About Phil Tarley

Phil Tarley is a fellow of the American Film Institute, an artist member of the Los Angeles Art Association and writes about contemporary art, pop culture and photography for Fabrik Magazine. He curates at the A C Gallery in Los Angeles and founded Round Hole Square Peg, a biannual, international survey of LGBTQ photography shown at the Photo LA. Tarley is also a critical essayist for Katharine T. Carter & Associates, an art advisory service that  helps artists obtain museum exhibitions. His personal series of political and ethnographic videos is housed in the permanent collection of the New York Public Library and has screened in film festivals and museums like the American Film Institute,and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. In 2009, under his nom de porn, Phil St. John, Tarley was inducted into the Gay Porn Hall of Fame for his 20-year producing and directing career. His writing and photography have also appeared in the LA Times, the LA Weekly, The WOW Report, Adventure Journal, the Advocate, Frontiers, Adult Video News, Genre, Instinct and American Photo Magazine. His book, Going down On Cuba: Notes from An Underground Traveler,  is slated to be published later in the year by Fabrik Press.

————————————————————————

 

FR0402-010-C6

—————————————–

AMERICAN PHOTO MAGAZINE
www.americanphotomag.com

Creating a New Visual Archetype for LGBTQ Photography at Photo LA

“We need a new way to see who we are”
By Kathleen Caulderwood Posted Yesterday at 9:23am
© Mei Xian Qiu

“The Lovers”The Lovers

When photographer and art critic Phil Tarley was viewing a recent LGBTQ photo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, he found himself disappointed.

Even though 2015 was the year the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is constitutional right and that Caitlin Jenner rose to international fame as a trans woman, none of this evolution was reflected in the photographs on display.

“They should be showing the hottest, cutting-edge stuff, but instead they had a show filled with mid last-century white men. No women, no people of color and no transsexuality,” he recalls. “We need a new way to see who we are, a new visual archetype.”

“The Round Hole, Square Peg” exhibition, which will show at Photo L.A. from Jan. 21 -24, is an attempt to remedy this problem. The group show features innovative photography from artists on the new edge of LGBTQ art such as Josef Jasso, Michael Palladino, Brooke Mason and Franz Szony.

The exhibition is composed of two parts: one showcases images chosen by a panel of artists, critics and gallery owners from entries submitted through the Round Hole, Square Peg competition and a “Wall of Fame,” which was curated by Tarley. Curating the collection was a thrilling experience, he says—it gave him a fresh perspective on how the LGBT art community has changed since the “Round Hole, Square Peg” last showed at Photo LA in 2014.

According to Tarley, one of the most notable developments has been the acceptance and support of the transsexual community.

“Where we are, anyone today can adjust their dial anywhere on the male female continuum for an evening or the rest of their lives,” he says. Consequently, the genre of queer photography has shifted to include a wider variety of subjects, which has changed the tone of work. He sees it as moving away from the overtly sexual into a more spiritual side.

While curating the “ Wall of Fame” Tarley was interested in looking for work that had elements of staging and design, rather than traditional documentary work.

Tarley noted Franz Szony’s photograph “Familiars,” which will be featured on the “Wall of Fame” as an example of what he was looking for. It features an albino figure resting on a broomstick, surrounded by an array of flying creatures.

“The Lovers,” by Chinese-American artist and photographer Mei Xian Qiu, also features multiple layers. The subjects initially draw the viewer’s eye, but soon the complex and layered background comes into focus, as does the juxtaposition between the subjects’ military fatigues and the light spring scene.

“In the end, it just has to be great art,” Tarley says. “It has to knock my socks off.”

“Round Hole, Square Peg” will show at Photo LA from Jan. 21 – 24, 2016 at the REEF event center in Los Angeles, California. The show will then move to the Artist’s Corner gallery in Hollywood on Feb. 6 where it will remain on view through Feb. 20. The Artist’s Corner exhibition will also include an opening-night auction for the Trevor Foundation, a national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to young people in the LGBTQ community.

—————————————————————————-

LOS ANGELES TIMES    Paris Photo, Photo Independent fairs hit Hollywood this weekend

The art world will congregate around photography this weekend. The focus? Two art fairs in Hollywood. Paris Photo Los Angeles, the U.S. edition of the long-running French fair now in its third year in L.A., will take over the Paramount Pictures back lot; the artist-focused Photo Independent, which kicked off last year, will set up shop at Raleigh Studios across the street.We caught up with the directors of both fairs to discuss what’s in store. Below you’ll see a Q&A with Davies about Photo Independent….
Q&A with Photo Independent director Davies:

What was the impetus to start an artist-focused fair last year and why in L.A.? Was it in response to a void you saw?

I’ve always had a love of photography as an art form and have been fortunate to engage with some of the most inspiring artists of our times. With the existing gallery and art fairs, it seemed like extremely talented photographers, many independent, were being under-represented. With Photo Independent, I wanted to create a frontandcenter showcase for photographers both with and without gallery representation. I saw a deep hole and I wanted to fill it. Our niche, as you call it, is an exciting model, and it’s unique.

Why in Los Angeles? This is the land of Hollywood, the birthplace of epic image-making and one of the largest photography hubs in the world.

How did you select the exhibitors and how competitive was it?

We had a jury of four curators look over the entries to decide on the basis of their submissions which artists were doing interesting contemporary work, and then we thought about how they would all fit together as a gestalt. We want to have museum-quality work, professionally finished, and we favored bold, dramatic and unique types of work. The selection process was intense and fairly selective.

What are some standouts?

The following are just a few. … I love Roberts Stivers, who uses darkroom techniques to create beautifully mysterious and captivating images. I like Laurent Maes, a photographer from Belgium, whose photos detail beautiful architecture of huge ships from overhead. I like Richard Slechta’s big minimalist pieces that are hybrids of painting and photography — each work is unique. And I also like Mei Xian Qiu’s mythopoetic mise-en-scenes that she directs with a surreal cast of sexy, gender-ambiguous Jungian characters.

Why Raleigh Studios? Is it just about the proximity to Paris Photo L.A., or is there site-specific significance?

Raleigh mixes old-time Hollywood glamour with the technical expertise and equipment of a working film lot. They’ve been very supportive to us. I would be disingenuous not to admit that being right across the street from another world-class photography fair (and all the internationals that walk across Melrose Avenue to see our artists) is good luck too, don’t you think? We had many collectors and dealers walk across Melrose Avenue to see what our fair had to offer. This year we are having shuttle buses taking attendees back and forth between both fairs.

Tell us about the two micro-fairs — PhotoBook Independent and Photo Contemporary – that you’re launching this year as part of Photo Independent.

Photo books are big at the moment, and I have a huge passion for them as well. Photo books are seen as collectibles in the art world these days, and I felt it was a natural extension to Photo Independent. Photo books are a unique way of curating a photographer’s body of work and owning a physical representation of the work, a more accessible option to collecting.

After last year’s Photo Independent, we started receiving inquiries from galleries about participating at this year’s fair, as they saw the energy our fair had and wanted to be a part of it, so we decided to create a new section called Photo Contemporary, to differentiate from independent photographers.

Do you think fine art photography fairs are on the rise in the U.S.?

Yes, it seems that way. Photography is now the new fine art kid on the block and everybody wants some. These days photography is eagerly sought after, at all the fine art contemporary fairs all over the world. A list published by Fotografia found 41 contemporary art fairs in the U.S. that welcome photographic art, which was not the case a few years ago.

Los Angeles is mad-passionate for art, and we have many fairs, although not as many as in New York and Miami. We seem to be at a photographic epicenter here. In addition to all the art fairs, we have four important fairs devoted exclusively to photography: Photo L.A., Classic Photo, Paris Photo Los Angeles and, of course, Photo Independent. Photography is the most incendiary art form of our modern civilization. The birth of a fresh, contemporary art and era has arrived — and it’s definitely photographic!

Photo Independent, premiere party and preview 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, show 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Raleigh Studios, 5300 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, $15 one day, $25 weekend.

__________________________________________

 

“Mille Fiori” from Central Java and grown in the world

Mei Xian Qiu love 350250
Sabato, 5 settembre 2015


Mei Xian Qiu  – Frosinone parco cittadino esplosione di multietnica ‘arte, in modo da farvi pensare che la città è la capitale della’ intercontinentale ‘arte, grazie all’ instancabile ‘Alfio Borghese “, il patrimonio artistico direttore di arte visiva contemporanea. Mentre al piano superiore della villa continua a mostrare “Brooke Harker”, la società americana di cui abbiamo già parlato, al piano di sotto si apre la mostra “Mei Xian Qiu”, “una sola Cina”, a Los Angeles con le foto provocanti, pertinenti oggi in un ‘era globalizzata come la nostra.

Venerdì scorso, il parco cittadino era la posizione per rendere vicini lontani artisti, portatori di culture diverse, che utilizzano l’arte per comunicare. Al battesimo della mostra presentare le istituzioni della città, il sindaco, i consiglieri, gli artisti locali noti all’estero come “Fausto Roma”, recentemente tornato da Los Angeles dove espone il suo lavoro, lo scultore “Elena Sevi” alcuni giovani artisti della scuola d’arte “di Anton Giulio Bragaglia”.
Ma seguimi, ti porto nel mondo del ‘dell’artista, la brutalità e delicatezza convergere nelle fotografie, che raccontano molte storie, con l’aiuto di ottica. Immagini stampate su plexi glass sembrano insegne, opere di denuncia che affrontano diversi aspetti della società contemporanea, una miriade di stereotipi che “Mei” si può essere stata una vittima., Pregiudizi CINA .. Satira da colori dolci, che rappresenta il popolo cinese militante e decadente . Il “CHINA MEI” è uno degli incubi del mondo, ma “Mei”, sulla scia delle opere POP ART, quindi l’uso di PlexiglasShow sm 350260flamboyant Mille Fiori Mei Xian Qiu, si sovrappone bambole di porcellana grottesche con il macello, assurda incontri di amanti dello stesso sesso. MEI rende divertente per prendere in giro il nuovo potere della Cina e il timore d’America, uniti nel bacio di due uomini in uniforme, il soldato maoista conquistare Hollywood. “Mei Xian Qiu”, è cresciuto a Giava centrale, caso Sfuggita per il genocidio del suo popolo nel 1969, si è rifugiato a Los Angeles. “Mille fiori” è il titolo della mostra.

 newspaper italy mei xian qiu

April 7, 2014, Critic’s Pick

Mei Xian Qiu at Kopeikin Gallery, Los Angeles

By Lita Barrie   Fri, Apr 11, 2014

Qiu’s work has a cinematic feel, created by imprinting photographs on plexiglass substrates with thick layers of pigments housed in tabloid souvenir boxes, which have a 3-D quality. (March 1-April 19, 2014)

Mei Xian Qiu at Kopeikin Gallery, Los Angeles

The Nymph of the River Luo; Summer, photograph on Plexiglass substrate, 2014. Courtesy: Paul Kopeiken Gallery. The utopic surfaces of Mei Xian Qiu’s painterly photographic constructions of idyllic scenes are undercut by disturbing symbolism – which subverts the impact of pictorial conventions and dominant media imagery which dictate perceptions of cultural and gender identities. The diasporic status of  the “other”  trapped by contradictory cultural projections, is both theoretically and personally problematic for Qiu – who grew up in Java, from a third generation Chinese family that moved back and forth to America during her childhood. The impetus for this exhibition comes from a Chinese poem “Let a thousand flowers bloom. A hundred schools of thought contend ” quoted by Mao in a 1957 proclamation that urged artists and academics to come out of hiding, so that a great culture could flower.  Qiu’s photographs explore the hidden dangers in this suggestion, which were put aside momentarily in the romance of this beautiful idea. She elaborately stages her models – Chinese-American and Pan -Asian artists and academics she knows personally – in scenes that draw heavily on symbolism drawn from Western and Chinese art history, poetry, and propogandist media. Her subjects are tenderly portrayed as sacrificial victims for questionable ideals, bought to slaughter for a revolution, or war, or oppressive post-colonial ideology. Qiu’s work has a cinematic feel, created by imprinting photographs on plexiglass substrates with thick layers of pigments housed in tabloid souvenir boxes, which have a 3-D quality. She combines stained glass, to create different angles that change light – recalling the role of stained glass in religious storytelling – to signify the intermingling of contradictory beliefs, in post-colonial culture. A series in four parts that recalls a Chinese scroll painting, “The Nymph of the River Luo” – in summer, fall, winter and spring – is based on a classic Chinese poem about the tragic love between a water nymph and a human prince who could never be together, because “men and gods must go their separate ways” –  which inspired Chinese dream painting. The recurrent imagery of  young women with raw meat and carcasses is a shocking contrast to the profusion of cherry blossoms in her work – which are Chinese symbols of beauty, femininity and peace. Innocent, effeminate  soldiers are depicted surrounded by feminine flowers instead of guns. A soldier in a Chinese military uniform staged to  re-enact  souvenir propoganda imagery, has a red flower in his mouth symbolizing peace – but also suggesting a wound- in an anti-violence protest. In “This way to Paradise”  a young soldier is dog tagged and depicted as a sacrificial virgin floating in water surrounded by flowers, like Ophelia. By transposing traditional gender symbolism in surprising ways, Qiu reflects post-feminist shifts in critical discourse on identity, without being overly-conceptual – because she constantly  searchs for fresh ways to experiment with aesthetic overlaps between photography and painting. This Way to Paradise, photograph on Plexiglass substrate, 2014. Courtesy: Paul Kopeiken Gallery.

By Lita Barrie

 Lita Barrie

Lita Barrie is a Los Angeles based art critic and essayist. She is a cover story writer and Art Muse blogger for Artweek.LA and these essays are selectively aggregated and featured in Painters Table. She is from New Zealand where she wrote a weekly art column for The National Business Review in the late 1980s and contributed to The Listener, Art New Zealand, Antic, AGMANZ, Sites, and Landfall and  also wrote NZ artist catalogues  from 1985 to 2001. In 1990 she relocated to L.A after six months in Europe on a travel grant and  became the L.A correspondent for Artspace, a contributing editor for Artweek and contributed to Art Issues, Visions, and Vernacular. She is the author of numerous museum and art gallery artist catalogue essays ( in LA and NZ). In New Zealand she was awarded four Queen Elizabeth 11 Arts Council grants and a Harkness grant. In Los Angeles, she has taught at:Art Center, Claremont Graduate University,  Otis School of Art and Design, Scripps Women’s College and California State University of Los Angeles. Her post-graduate degrees are in  aesthetic philosophy. She recently left university teaching to focus on writing.

———————————————————————–

ArtweekLA

Calendar
Cover Story
Features
Reviews
Previews
Current
Last Call
In Memory Of

Vol. 147 December 23/30, 2013 Double – Print the December 23/30, 2013 Double Issue
Login Not a member? Subscribe Here
December 23/30, 2013 Double, Features
MOCA’s Mizer-Finland Show and the Search for a New LGBT Visual Aesthetic

By Phil Tarley Tue, Dec 10, 2013

The current Bob Miser/Tom of Finland exhibition at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) presents a bountiful body of gay male erotica from mid-last century.
MOCA’s Mizer-Finland Show and the Search for a New LGBT Visual Aesthetic

Years ago brown paper bagged portraits of male nudes moved out from porn shops into art galleries, but this is the first time an American museum has mounted a show that shows men mounting each other.

Mizer and Finland zapped the zeitgeist of their time. They were two of the most significant figures of twentieth century erotica and forefathers of an emergent post-war gay culture. But what about today? How do we first define, then design a LGBT paradigm for a new pictorial era? In 2013 women, transgender people and other minorities compel visibility and depiction.

I can’t resist the obvious; it’s enough to say that the MOCA hang is very well-hung. It’s daring, provocative and has a fun and fierce intensity, but is it contemporary? Mizer-Finland work lends a rich legacy and contextualization to gay iconography from, the before. But it leaves me wanting, the after, the now.

S.R. Sharp, vice president of the Tom of Finland board of directors told me that the art still has heat and stays current. “Maybe at first glance the exhibition seems campy or historical but though it represents a time gone by it stands up as timeless. It has an endearing and an enduring quality. Bob (Mizer) and Tom (of Finland) were combating a society where homos did not have it easy. They were forced into dark shadows; they were cowering in back alleys.”

All true. Back then to be out was to be an outlaw. MOCA’S exhibition gives the genre a curatorial cachet and establishment visibility. And so as underground, outsider art rises up, it moves inside, museums.

“There are always people on the margins making art who want to stay underground and be alternative, “said Sally Baxter, a mixed media artist and art editor for Suspend magazine. “It’s important not to shy away from the fact that what makes people queer is that they have queer sex. That’s what makes us gay and I want to see it.”

David Fahey a pioneering Los Angeles gallerist who brought the world Herb Ritts told me that showing male nudes is not much different than showing female nudes. “After Mapplethorpe, male nudity was embraced by the mainstream, I’m happy to see that it’s pretty commonplace today,” Fahey said.

“While gay men had hyper-masculine images to drool over, lesbians always saw themselves depicted as bad girls on the covers of drug store pulp fiction novels, vampires or terrifying prison guards — straight male fantasy images, ” said Karen Ocamb, news editor for Frontiers magazine. “That’s why so many of us preferred the world of the imagination – flowers by Georgia O’Keefe or ‘The Dinner Party’ by Judy Chicago or Zena the Warrior Princess on TV.

Tom of Finland and Bob Mizer created a culture of imagery that changed the way gay men saw themselves. Theirs was a world that preceded Will and Grace, gay marriage and commonplace sexual reassignment surgery.

I left MOCA’s exhibition, thinking about Round Hole, Square Peg, a show Paul Bridgewater originated at Smart Clothes, his downtown, New York City gallery. It sought a new LGBT visual brand. Bridgewater wrote a manifesto:

Queer identity is not simply a sexual one. Queer artists have a perspective and an experience to contribute to society that is wholly their own and it’s a rich, and worldly one. Having been marginalized and alienated for so long has developed a unique view of self worth, self image, spiritually and companionship.

A hunt for new archetypes has become a preoccupation. Stephen Cohen, whose Los Angeles photography gallery exhibited Zackary Drucker’s transsexual photography, Anthony Friedkin’s “Gay Essays” and Bruce of L.A., warmly supported the idea for a show. Cohen felt that, “The search for a new template that includes the many shades of LGBT life today vs. the old stereotypes is long overdue.” And so I am working on a show for the Artist’s Corner Gallery which will be the first LGBT exhibition at photo l.a., one of the oldest fine art fairs in the country. It will feature a special invitational, Wall of Fame to hang next to the juried exhibition.

Mei Xian Qui, The Lovers, Courtesy of The Paul Kopeikin Gallery

Round Hole, Square Peg opens at photo l.a. on January 16, 2014. For information and to submit photographic work for juried selection visit artistscorner.us.
———————————————

Mei Xian Qiu: Qilin by April 9, 2014

Qiu_BirdCage Mei Xian Qiu is a Los Angeles based artist who creates staged tableaux that reflect Cultural Revolution Propaganda imagery.  She currently has an exhibition at the Kopeikin Gallery ending on April 19th. “In the photographs, hidden political dangers are suggested and must be addressed urgently, but are put aside momentarily, subsumed to the romance of “the beautiful idea.” Mei’s models are Pan Asian American artists, and academics specializing in Chinese culture–the very group at risk in a Hundred Flowers Movement. She uses discarded U.S. military uniforms andcheongsams constructed for the photographs, and Chinese mock ups taken from a Beijing photography studio.” Mei was born in the town of Pekalongan, on the island of Java, Indonesia, to a third generation Chinese minority family. At birth, she was given various names in preparation for societal collapse and variant potential futures, a Chinese name, an American name and an Indonesian name given by her parents, as well as a Catholic name by the local priest. In the aftermath of the Chinese and Communist genocide, the family immigrated to the United States. She was moved back and forth several times between the two countries during her childhood – her parents initial reaction to what they perceived as the amorality of life in the West countered with the uncertainty of life in Java. Partially as a result of a growing sense of restlessness, her father joined the U.S. Air force and the family lived across the country, sometimes staying in one place for just a month at a time. She has also been based in Europe, China, and Indonesia as an adult. She has had numerous solo and group exhibitions in the U.S. and Europe and her work has been featured at many art fairs. grandcanyon Qilin is a series of photographs portraying a Chinese takeover of the United States, is a popular partial Western misquotation of Mao Zedong’s “Let a Hundred Flowers Blossom, Let a Hundred Schools of Thought Contend.” Taken from classical Chinese poetry, Mao used this slogan to proclaim a great society where arts, academia, and “a hundred schools of thought contend.” As a result, artists and academics came out of hiding and there was a brief flowering of culture. cherryblossoms Growing up in Java as a third generation Chinese Diasporic minority during a time when being Chinese was unlawful, Qiu reconstructed the unknown, fantastical notions of culture, self invented and — by dissecting essential archetypes, revelatory and iconic. This type of flexible self view and easy piercings of notions of the impermeable interior self, is in keeping with the new contemporary landscape of commonplace transience and a growing global mono culture. After her family immigrated to the U.S. in response to genocide, Qiu visited China five times only to learn it was eagerly shedding its own past culture viewed as outdated in order to embrace modernity. DeepestSecret The photographs uses familiar symbolism and historical dystopianism, but looks squarely to the future. Never forgetful of the past, this body of work engages the constitution of the future, affirmatively critical, specifically with respect to globalism, the identity of the self and self view, the social landscape, post-colonialism, and that of the larger national body politic. Lovers 8075 Immacolata Nymph.Fall Nymph.Spring NymphSummer nymphwinter Qiu_Hollywoodland

_______________________________________________

Interview with Chinese, American, and Indonesian fine art photographer Mei Xian Qiu

By Ken Weingart on March 29, 2014 in Interviews – Fine Art Photographers
Mei Xian Qiu is a Chinese, American, and Indonesian fine art photographer whose current series, Qilin, is showing at the Koeipkin Gallery in Los Angeles through April 19, 2014.  Mei’s work is rich in metaphor and meanings, and she has had tremendous success. In the following interview, she opens up about her history and how her unique visualizations came to be.Mei Xian Qui 7 How old were you when you moved to the United States, and how has being Chinese and American informed your art?I moved to the U.S when I was four to escape persecution in Indonesia.  My family lived in Indonesia for three generations, since the 1880’s.  Coming from a very conservative country, my parents wanted to frame their lives differently.  Although they felt a certain exultation from this new freedom, they perceived the U.S. as an amoral place and not a place to raise children.Hence, they gave all their children away, and I was sent back to Indonesia.  My mother separated from my father and decided she wanted her family back.  She and my father began the difficult process of reclaiming their four children.  Since that time, I have moved back and forth several times.Inter-culturalism is interesting and often complex.  My work stems directly from being Chinese, American, and Indonesian.  My view of Chinese culture is necessarily fantastical, because I grew up where being Chinese was illegal and we had no access to Chinese culture in terms of traditions or morays.  At the same time, we were labeled as Chinese and persecuted. In my work, I try to create a “Chinese” history in self-reinventions — skewed and out of whack, and completely unrestricted.My main cultural identity has been American and Los Angelino, with a view towards the East like something out of a dream.  My work is clearly American (as opposed to Chinese), especially in the way the subjects challenge the viewer with the directness of their gaze. Mei Xian Qui 1 When did you become an artist, and how did photography start to play a role in that? Probably from my mother’s belly! My caretakers would ask me to stop drawing and go outside to play with my friends. My life history posed  questions that I had to tackle in an open handed way. Photography was an outgrowth of painting.  It is an ideal medium for me because photographs bombard an average 21st century human on a daily basis, combining commercial and political propaganda with images of personal and societal history.  I find this daily merging of fiction and reality interesting.  I want my work to have that illusion and connection to reality. How do you like living in Los Angeles? What are the pros and cons, and is there somewhere else you would like to be? Perhaps it’s the connection to cinema, but from when I arrived in Los Angeles at sixteen, I felt this freedom — this relative tolerance of differences, ideas, and exploration.  It took me a few years to get accustomed to the landscape, the colors and the even the architecture, but I’ve now acquired a deep appreciation for these characteristics. I would like to be in a lot of places.  I miss Indonesia for instance, but am unsure if what I miss still exists. Mei Xian Qui 9 Your newest series Qilin and Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom have a lot of deep and diverse things going on. Can you distill for the layman what you are trying to say? A simple distillation would be that the work presents an eroticized Rorschach to view our shifting perceptions, which are impermeable and unchanging. We live in an internal self-imposed landscape of an increasingly global monoculture.  Who are we and what will we become, as seemingly indigenous cultural origins become more and more attenuated?  Does our view of ourselves start to resemble how others view us at its most trite, streamlined and iconic? A Qilin  (Qi–male, lin–female) is an amalgamated Chinese creature, a hybrid of real and imaginary beings, and an ancient compass to the West.  It pushes the work of Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom to its most dualistic, hybridist components. Mei Xian Qui 3 In the image Cherry Blossoms from this series, there is a woman beautifully dressed in front of slaughtered animals. What is the meaning of this? Did you photograph the animals or have them imported into the shot? To understand this image, it is useful to look at the general outlines of the series Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom.  Mao Zedong quoted a classic Chinese poem, “Let a hundred flowers bloom.  Let a hundred schools of thought contend.” In a great society, different points of view and free expression should prevail.  As a result, intellectuals and artists came out of hiding, living for this “beautiful idea,” even though they must have known it would be ultimately fatalistic, by creating a utopian kernel inside a dystopian vision. The photographs portray a mock annexation of the U.S. by the Chinese, creating a hundred flowers movement here. The actors in the photographs are American artists or academics specializing in Chinese history — the very group targeted in the hundred flowers movement.  The Chinese uniforms come from a Beijing photo studio where cultural revolution imagery is re-enacted by foreign tourists. The uniforms are brought home as souvenirs. In this particular image, the woman is wearing a classical Chinese dress called a qipao, considered outmoded and “anti-modern,” in contemporary China, where Western pop culture and fashion are wholeheartedly embraced.  She is holding cherry blossoms, a symbol of feminine domestic power and the dominance of beauty. Mei Xian Qui 5 In image 8990,  you have two gay soldiers, one Chinese and the other American, embracing in front of a deer in the forest.  What is the symbolism here and did you use stock imagery for this background? If soldiers were countries, what would they do?  That was my initial question, since soldiers were sometimes the only contact one country had with another. Countries courted, fought, and got into bed with one another.  I used two male soldiers because I did not want gender roles to be part of what the image was about, and I found it made sense formally as well. In terms of the symbolism of the deer, they were associated with high remuneration and often historically depicted in Chinese art with government officials.  I did not use stock imagery for the background. It is a bit of a play upon a play, with a slight dig at Chinese contemporary art — its political, moral, and aesthetic censorship, while its artists deal with issues such as control, war, and Western influence. Mei Xian Qui 8 Image 8801 has a scantily clad woman in front of a poster of AK-47’s. Are you trying to juxtapose sexiness with war? My work is most often highly subversive, dealing with popular iconography, stereotypes, and persistent viewpoints of gender and culture.  War is ultimately about power. We have always been surrounded by stories in one form or another of sex, conflict and dominance—and the prestige that goes with it—that we use to define ourselves. If the function of an artist is to be a trickster of sorts, then we break down these stories and reconstruct them. In this photograph, what has been made to be significant and what has been diminutized?  In the lower right hand corner of the picture, there is a scattering of Chairman Mao badges that were once ubiquitous during the Cultural Revolution. Now they have been regurgitated as tourist souvenirs at countless Chinatowns around the world. Many of them have Mao’s 1962 poem written on them; “The plum blossom is delighted. The sky is full of snow.” Mei Xian Qui 6 You are using the Plexiglas process for your prints. How did you learn about this, and what are the advantages? My background is as a painter, and my photographs are quite painterly, with heavy layers of velvety pigment. The Plexiglas boxes were made to resemble a cross between three dimensional souvenir boxes and a reverential sort of stained glass.  When I was a child growing up in post colonial Java, I would be woken at 5:00 a.m. to walk for an hour to the only Western style building in the village, a small cathedral (we had been converted from Buddhism by missionaries).  At 6:00 a.m. every Sunday, the equatorial light would shine brilliantly through the stained glass and play upon the dust motes in the air. To me, it held the magic and promise of the West.  The variables of light through an image are important in my work, as they are a metaphor for the shades of identity and the multi-dimensionality of truth. Mei Xian Qui 2 How was the experience at Art Basel? What happened and what did you learn? I learned that the art world is small.  You would consistently meet friends from different parts of the world at the fairs. What do you want to achieve in the future, and are you working on a new series yet? Mei Xian Qui 4   I would like to add sculptural and installation components.  I want to keep working on my series, and follow it through its natural progression.

– See more at: http://www.kenweingart.com/blog/interview-chinese-american-indonesian-fine-art-photographer-mei-xian-qiu/#sthash.2g6ceq7U.dpuf

———————————————————————————–

Los Angeles, I'm Yours

March 18. 2014

Communist Foils: The Work Of Mei Xian Qiu

Mei Xian Qiu China Los Angeles 1

Mei Xian Qiu is a Los Angeles based artist. She is of a third generation Chinese family and eventually emigrated to America in light of Chinese and Communist genocide. Her father was in the U.S. Air Force and she seemed to grow up all over the world, getting influences from every place she lived. Her photographic work deals with the convergence of Western and Eastern cultures, taking Communist characters and colliding them with taboo or decidedly edgy activities. The work alludes to an alternate dystopian future where both mindsets have melted together in the most fascinating ways possible.   Mei Xian Qiu China Los Angeles 2

Mei Xian Qiu China Los Angeles 3 Qui’s work features men and women dressed in traditional Chinese wears, most notably Communist uniforms and era specific outfits. They’re often juxtaposed against American landmarks or are placed with someone of the same gender, sometimes embracing. There is a feeling of a Communist takeover of America—but it didn’t go as well as planned. Instead of retaining a specific idea of ownership, the resulting world is trapped in youthful play and homoerotic sexual exploration. Communism is used as a folly, a metaphor for an unsophisticated and under-developed thought process. Qui’s placing her characters in the guise of Chinese Communists and putting them in these otherwise compromising scenes removes the power of their image. It’s a powerful effect. The body of work is called Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom and is executed so beautifully. The work is reminiscent of propaganda and softcore romance novels. You can even see classic art referenced, recalling that of Gabrielle d’Estrées et une de ses sœurs and more. The works are born out of fantasy and certainly retain a dream-like quality. If interested, you can catch Qiu’s work on view at Kopeikin through April 19: learn more about that here. Mei Xian Qiu China Los Angeles 6 Mei Xian Qiu China Los Angeles 5 Mei Xian Qiu China Los Angeles 4

——————————————————————————-
Photos from Reception at Kopeikin Gallery March 1, 2014
Kopeikin show kopeikin2
—————————————————————————
Interview for 2013 Paci Contemporary Exhibit:

————————————————————————–
Links:
http://www.aptglobal.org/en/About/PressRoom/Article/40973
http://www.aptglobal.org/en/Page/APT-Global-Newsletter/

Artist Spotlight on Mei Xian Qui                                                    02/06/2014

Name: Mei Xian Qiu

Where I live: Los Angeles

My greatest inspiration: The village I grew up in central Java -- the sights, sounds, stories, the feel of its heat, dust, wetness, the village fires, the density of the jungle, the culture of batik, the little intrigues, its little macrocosm of the world. 

My hero: My father

My most treasured possession: My mind

My favorite thing to do:  Leaping tall buildings in a single bound

My favorite words to live by: Sit still

My proudest moment or my greatest achievement: Smiling with black teeth as a small child

The best advice I received:  Marina Abromovic:  “To know whether or not you are an artist is like breathing.  You just breathe, or else you have to die.”

The best advice I ever gave:  Take the next step.  Don’t be afraid of the story you have to tell.

I joined APT because: I have a tremendous respect for its artists and am wowed by its concept

Currently working on: Solo show for Kopeikin Gallery and an exhibit in Sao Paolo

Currently exploring issues of: Self invented identities in an increasingly global mono culture

What I love most about creating art/ being an artist: The freedom to follow an idea to its conclusion

I create art where I feel: Safe

———————————————————————————————————–
ArtweekLA

December 23/30, 2013 Double, Features

MOCA’s Mizer-Finland Show and the Search for a New LGBT Visual Aesthetic

By Phil Tarley   Tue, Dec 10, 2013

The current Bob Miser/Tom of Finland exhibition at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) presents a bountiful body of gay male erotica from mid-last century.

MOCA’s Mizer-Finland Show and the Search for a New LGBT Visual Aesthetic

Years ago brown paper bagged portraits of male nudes moved out from porn shops into art galleries, but this is the first time an American museum has mounted a show that shows men mounting each other. Mizer and Finland zapped the zeitgeist of their time. They were two of the most significant figures of twentieth century erotica and forefathers of an emergent post-war gay culture. But what about today? How do we first define, then design a LGBT paradigm for a new pictorial era? In 2013 women, transgender people and other minorities compel visibility and depiction. I can’t resist the obvious; it’s enough to say that the MOCA hang is very well-hung. It’s daring, provocative and has a fun and fierce intensity, but is it contemporary? Mizer-Finland work lends a rich legacy and contextualization to gay iconography from, the before. But it leaves me wanting, the after, the now. S.R. Sharp, vice president of the Tom of Finland board of directors told me that the art still has heat and stays current. “Maybe at first glance the exhibition seems campy or historical but though it represents a time gone by it stands up as timeless. It has an endearing and an enduring quality. Bob (Mizer) and Tom (of Finland) were combating a society where homos did not have it easy.  They were forced into dark shadows; they were cowering in back alleys.” All true. Back then to be out was to be an outlaw. MOCA’S exhibition gives the genre a curatorial cachet and establishment visibility. And so as underground, outsider art rises up, it moves inside, museums. “There are always  people on the margins making art who want to stay underground and be alternative, “said  Sally Baxter, a mixed media artist and art editor for Suspend magazine. “It’s important not to shy away from the fact that what makes people queer is that they have queer sex. That’s what makes us gay and I want to see it.” David Fahey a pioneering Los Angeles gallerist who brought the world Herb Ritts told me that showing male nudes is not much different than showing female nudes. “After Mapplethorpe, male nudity was embraced by the mainstream, I’m happy to see that it’s pretty commonplace today,” Fahey said. “While gay men had hyper-masculine images to drool over, lesbians always saw themselves depicted as bad girls on the covers of drug store pulp fiction novels, vampires or terrifying prison guards — straight male fantasy images, ” said Karen Ocamb, news editor for Frontiers magazine. “That’s why so many of us preferred the world of the imagination – flowers by Georgia O’Keefe or ‘The Dinner Party’ by Judy Chicago or Zena the Warrior Princess on TV. Tom of Finland and Bob Mizer created a culture of imagery that changed the way gay men saw themselves. Theirs was a world that preceded Will and Grace, gay marriage and commonplace sexual reassignment surgery. I left MOCA’s exhibition, thinking about Round Hole, Square Peg, a show Paul Bridgewater originated at Smart Clothes, his downtown, New York City gallery. It sought a new LGBT visual brand. Bridgewater wrote a manifesto: Queer identity is not simply a sexual one. Queer artists have a perspective and an experience to contribute to society that is wholly their own and it’s a rich, and worldly one. Having been marginalized and alienated for so long has developed a unique view of self worth, self image, spiritually and companionship. A hunt for new archetypes has become a preoccupation. Stephen Cohen, whose Los Angeles photography gallery exhibited Zackary Drucker’s transsexual photography, Anthony Friedkin’s “Gay Essays” and Bruce of L.A., warmly supported the idea for a show. Cohen felt that, “The search for a new template that includes the many shades of LGBT life today vs. the old stereotypes is long overdue.” And so I am working on a show for the Artist’s Corner Gallery which will be the first LGBT exhibition at photo l.a., one of the oldest fine art fairs in the country. It will feature a special invitational, Wall of Fame to hang next to the juried exhibition. Mei Xian Qui, The Lovers, Courtesy of The Paul Kopeikin Gallery Round Hole, Square Peg opens at photo l.a. on January 16, 2014.  For information and to submit photographic work for juried selection visit artistscorner.us.

—————————————————————————————————————————— FABRIK ART DESIGN ARCHITECTURE.  12.2013

Round Hole, Square Peg: A New LGBT Visual Aesthetic For Century 21

Tom Of Finland's Cover Drawing on Bob Mizer's Physique Pictorial Magazine Tom Of Finland’s Cover Drawing on Bob Mizer’s Physique Pictorial Magazine The Bob Mizer-Tom of Finland exhibition at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) presents a bountiful body of gay male erotica from mid-last century. Years ago brown paper bagged portraits of male nudes moved out from porn shops into art galleries, but this is the first time an American Museum has mounted a show that shows men mounting each other. Mizer and Finland zapped the zeitgeist of their time. They were two of the most significant figures of twentieth century erotica and forefathers of an emergent post-war gay culture. But what about today?  How do we first define, then design a LGBT paradigm for a new pictorial era?   In 2013, women, transgender people and other minorities compel visibility and depiction. I can’t resist the obvious; it’s enough to say that the MOCA hang is very well-hung.  It’s daring, provocative and has a fun and fierce intensity, but is it contemporary? Mizer-Finland work lends a rich legacy and contextualization to gay iconography from, the before. But it leaves me wanting, the after, the now. S.R. Sharp, vice president of the Tom of Finland board of directors told me that the art still has heat and stays current. “Maybe at first glance the exhibition seems campy or historical but though it represents a time gone by it stands up as timeless. It has an endearing and an enduring quality. Bob (Mizer) and Tom (of Finland) were combating a society where homos did not have it easy. They were forced into dark shadows; they were cowering in back alleys.”   Photo by Bob Mizer Photo by Bob Mizer All true. Back then to be out was to be an outlaw. MOCA’s exhibition gives the genre a curatorial cachet and establishment visibility.  And so as underground, outsider art rises up, it moves inside, museums. “There are always people on the margins making art who want to stay underground and be alternative, “said  Sally Baxter, a mixed media artist and art editor for Suspend magazine. “It’s important not to shy away from the fact that what a makes people queer is that they have queer sex. That’s what makes us gay and I want to see it.” David Fahey a pioneering Los Angeles gallerist who brought the world Herb Ritts, told me that that showing male nudes is not much different than showing female nudes. “After Mapplethorpe, male nudity was embraced by the mainstream, I’m happy to see that it’s pretty commonplace today,” Fahey said. “While gay men had hyper-masculine images to drool over, lesbians always saw themselves depicted as bad girls on the covers of drug store pulp fiction novels, vampires or terrifying prison guards – straight male fantasy images, ” said Karen Ocamb, news editor for Frontiers magazine. “That’s why so many of us preferred the world of the imagination – flowers by Georgia O’Keefe or ‘The Dinner Party’ by Judy Chicago or Zena the Warrior Princess on TV.   Mei Xian Qui - The Lovers; Courtesy of Paul Kopeikin Gallery Mei Xian Qui – The Lovers Courtesy of Paul Kopeikin Gallery Tom of Finland and Bob Mizer created a culture of imagery that changed the way gay men saw themselves. Theirs was a world that preceded Will and Grace, gay marriage and common place sexual reassignment surgery. I left MOCA’s exhibition thinking about Round Hole, Square Peg, a show Paul Bridgewater originated at Smart Clothes, his downtown, New York City gallery. It sought a new LGBT visual Brand. Bridgewater wrote a manifesto: Queer identity is not simply a sexual one. Queer artists have a perspective and an experience to contribute to society that is wholly their own and it’s a rich, and worldly one. Having been  marginalized  and alienated for so long  has developed  a unique  view of self worth, self image, spirituality and companionship. Tom Atwood Mother Flawles Sabrina From Kings and Queens in Their Castles Tom Atwood – Mother Flawles Sabrina From Kings and Queens in Their Castles A hunt for new archetypes has become a preoccupation. Stephen Cohen, whose Los Angeles photography gallery exhibited Zackary Drucker’s transsexual photography, Anthony Friedkin’s “Gay Essays,” and Bruce of L.A., warmly supported the idea for a show. Cohen felt that “The search for a new template that includes the many shades of LGBT life today vs. the old stereotypes is long overdue.” And so I am working on a show for the Artist’s Corner Gallery which will be the first LGBT exhibition at photo l.a., one of the oldest fine art fairs in the country. It will feature a special invitational, Wall of Fame to hang next to a juried  exhibition. Round Hole, Square Peg opens at photo l.a. on January 16, 2014. For information and to submit photographic work for juried selection visit: artistscorner.us ————————————————————————————————————————————-   Ping Pong BZ 15.6.13    ______________________________________________________   Mei Xian Qiu, Bloom, particolare Artribune, April 1, 2013 Il fulcro generatore della mostra alla Paci Contemporary si concreta nel bozzetto di “uomo-rosa”, metafora tratta da un’antica poesia cinese, ma anche proclama di Mao Tse-Tung (“Che cento fiori fioriscano, che cento scuole gareggino”), allusivo al confronto tra culture e arti. Le diciannove opere di Mei Xian Qiu riflettono in maniera critica su tale messaggio, mettendo in scena un’ideale battaglia non violenta, in un florilegio di petali e nella perfezione formale delle immagini, dettagliate e caratterizzate da tinte sature. Così ne parla il gallerista, Giampaolo Paci: “Ci interessavano fotografie che attingessero anche alla scultura, in quanto il plexiglas sul quale sono impresse fornisce una dimensione di tridimensionalità che proietta sui muri ombre e colori, a seconda del variare della luce del giorno”. Milena Zanotti http://www.artribune.com/2013/03/rosa-fresca-aulentissima-la-cina-di-mei-xian-qiu/ ___________________________________________________

MEI XIAN QIU: CHINA MON AMOUR

By Peter Frank Identity slips and morphs, brutality and delicacy converge in Mei Xian Qiu’s photographic works, optically and technically no less than narratively and imagistically. The presence of these pictures, printed on Plexiglass as if prepared for an ad display in a public passageway, depends as much on their color and texture – their represented formal qualities – as on the people and occasions they depict – their represented prosaic qualities. Nothing is at it seems. And of course, as the Zen koan appends, nor is it otherwise. Mei does not admit the certitude with which identity-based art typically avers its positions – in all likelihood because she does not share such certitude. Her work certainly manifests her life experience, but that experience is one of shifting identity, a single sense of self having to present different selves to different facets of society simultaneously – a multiple otherness in which social, political, religious, and even family allegiances and affinities contrast and conflate, advance and recede, according to exterior forces. Mei  Xian Qiu – a/k/a Suriyani Gunadi, Maria Theresia Gunadi, even Cindy (Cinderella!) Gunadi – grew up ethnic Chinese in central Java, in an enclave of semi-assimilated Sino-Indonesians who lived in constant fear of expulsion or worse. The genocide of 1969, which Mei and her family barely escaped, is a case in point.  The experience parallels that of African-Americans in post-Civil War America, Gypsies throughout Europe, or Jews… well, almost everywhere. The relative proximity of China provided little comfort to these outliers, who were disdained in their ancestral homeland even as they were resented in their adopted home. Living in Los Angeles quiets but does not eradicate Mei’s sense of otherness and displacement, and her sense of alienation now abides uncomfortably, itself alienated from the bland reassurance of the American melting pot. Mei’s work reflects the undercurrent of unmoored unease a multiply-hyphenated individual can never quite escape. But it does so in a way that faces down, even taunts its ghosts. Her photographic series, in their premises – hyped to the point of absurdity – and their depictions – deliriously saturated with sensuous and exotic touches — amplify, distort, and (thus) mock the myriad stereotypes to which Mei herself could be, and sometimes has been, subject. The Orientalist suppositions of the west – the American Old West not least – rise off her pictures like steam. The more acute prejudices of China’s often aggrieved neighbors lend brittleness to Mei’s burlesque exaggerations. And worldwide anxiety about China’s newfound power and prominence rears its ugly head time and again in these sweet-hued satires, absurdly but darkly representing the Chinese people as a new Mongol horde at once militant and decadent, facelessly regimented and lustily polymorphous. Mei Xian Qiu’s photographs, ecstatic comedies of ethnic calamity, follow in an enduring tradition of minority entertainment, less multi-culturated than semi-acculturated. They are equivalent to minstrel shows, Yiddish theater, and norteño songs, making fun of majority misunderstanding and hostility by absorbing and parodying such ignorance. Hers is the China – and Chinese – of the world’s nightmares, a campy skew on and skewering of outlandish, outdated, and/or outsized notions of otherhood. But Mei also works in the wake of Pop art (Chinese as well as American), photographic appropriation, and the continual blandishments of the digital age, allowing – indeed, requiring – her to assume the sometimes seductive, sometimes clamorous voice of popular media. Hence her over-the-top antique touches and latter-day formats, from the grotesque superpositions of China doll and abattoir, Maoist automaton and American landscape, to improbable same-sex encounters among icons of propriety, to the use of Plexi, garish, perverse, and yet starkly handsome and revealing in its own hard and ubiquitous way. This is highly artful art, elegant and calculated, designed to deflate the presumptions of an insensitive world even as it roils in muffled anguish. February 2013 Los Angeles _______________________________________________________________________________________________ ZOOM Magazine article (Fall 2013 Human Rights Issue) Interno S0107 Komori Interno S0107 KomoriInterno S0107 Komori Interno S0107 Komori   Download printable cover PDF Download printable pages PDF ____________________________________________________________________________________________________ FABRIK (COVER) ARTICLE What Can I Say About Mei? SEPTEMBER 14, 2012 by PHIL TARLEY Move over David Lachapelle and Pierre et Gilles. Get back Wang Qingsong. Here comes Mei Xian Qui. Eastern themes of post Chairman Mao politics enliven a bizarre dialog in Mei’s highly original, super sexy, uber-feminine photography. Mei is a quintessential Los Angeles artist, whipping up images in which Asian and Western themes implode in a delightful mélange of post modern sensibility. qiu2 LET A THOUSAND FLOWERS BLOOM, HOLLYWOOD (2010) Mei’s photographs take me into a world I’ve never seen before. Many allude to classic western tableaux, a nod to her painterly background. But then Mei infuses her work with a dramatic narrative. She catches her models in moments filled with expectancy and anticipation. She poses her characters, which are often gender ambiguous, as if they are in a play. Her actors often allude to a sexual back story, and seem to promise a big surprise at the end, after they have left her stage. Mei Xian Qiu was born in the town of Pekalongan, on the island of Java, Indonesia, to a third generation Chinese minority family. She has lived all over Europe, is based in Los Angeles and makes frequent trips back to China. “I feel 100% Chinese Indonesian, and 100% American. I am a part of a kind of floating culture. My sense of individual identity becomes linked to something ever shifting and transient.” I first met the Mei Xian Qui through the Los Angeles Art Association – we are both artist members. Peter Mays, the association’s director thrilled to promote her work, was quite proud that his Gallery 825 could provide a launch pad for her stratospheric career trajectory. Mei is blowing up big. At their Photo LA booth, her photographs sold handsomely. Then the L.A. Art Association took the artist to Basel Switzerland, where she sold every work she showed and took orders for five additional pieces. Peter was delighted and plans to take Mei to Art Basel Miami Beach in December. “I love her work; it’s timely, contemporary and challenging.” I have watched Mei’s photography mature and marry her diverse inspirations to their current incarnation, which she renders in Plexiglas. Mei prints onto the Plexiglas itself allowing a gentle backlight to infuse her imagery. Against a delicate palette of tropical birds and pink flowers, this soft kiss of backlight lays down a gossamer femininity and lightness that leaves me gender intrigued and scratching my head in delight wondering what is really going on in her photographs. The artist, sweet-natured and quick-smiled, cultivates an air of purposeful mystery. Rex Bruce, director of LACDA, Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, who showed the artist a few months ago, told me, “Mei Xian Qui is an artist with the perfect balance of humor, politics, multiculturalism and visual pleasure. Her images are exquisite and irresistible—her peculiar combinations of gay love, Chinese takeover, and L.A. pop sensibility illicit a sense of surprise in the onlooker.” How gay is Mei? Can the work of an Asian woman on Plexiglas really evoke gay anyway? And what is gay today? In her post-modern world of ethnic diversity, can’t we all be gay for a day? Half the fun in Mei’s work is trying to decode the artist’s campy, sometimes zany, quasi-political iconography. Mei Xian Qui is about process-melding her Asian and Los Angeles identities to constantly collide in clever, amusing and surprising ways. Her work is adorable, campy art that has both pith and ash. Who could ask for more? Resistance is futile. I’m wanting a piece to hang on my living room wall. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________ TAGES WOCHE ARTICLE Tages-woche Ping-Pong mal 3 13.06.2012, 18:52Uhr images|cms-image-000074330 Basel trifft auf Miami: Franziska Furter und Robert Chambers Werk 2 Tage vor der Vernissage. (Bild: Jana Kouril) Mit je vier Künstlern eröffnet «Ping-Pong» heute 18.00 Uhr die Ausstellung im M54 im Kleinbasel. Je vier Künstler sind aus oder von Basel, die anderen vier aus Miami. Schon mehrere Jahre geht das so hin und her über den grossen Teich. Nur mit viel Organisation und Begeisterung laufen die paar Tage rund, wie Sue Irion, selbst Künstlerin und in der Ausstellung vertreten, erklärt. «Ich sage gerne, es ist eine Ausstellung von Künstlern für Künstler», sagt sie. Und so gastieren die Künstler, manchmal die gleichen, manchmal neu hinzugekommene einmal im Jahr hier in Basel und einmal in Miami. Gemeinsam mit Anthony Thomas, Stimme und Gitarrenmann der Basler Garage-Rock-Surf-Band «The Lombego Surfers», hat Irion die Austellung gestemmt. Heute wird Thomas für das im Cüplirausch doch arg vermisste Rock’n’Roll-Feeling sorgen, denn das Trio spielt in Untergeschoss des M54 um ca. 20.00 Uhr. Cheers! Was an diesem Jahrgang des munteren Schlagabtauschs neu ist? Dass vier Künstler aus Los Angeles mit dabei sind und somit auch die «Tour de Art» um die millionenstadt L. A. erweitert wird. Zu sehen sind in Basel mobile Silos aus Norwegen aufgeschichtet von Robert Chambers (Miami) oder leckere Kuchenstücke gemalt von Mette Tommerup und gestickt von Pip Brant, die in surrealistischen Kompositionen schwelgenden Gemälde und eine Altarskulptur von Lex Vögtli (Basel) oder die durchscheinenden, an Leuchtkästen erinnernden Fotografien von Mei Xian Qiu (Los Angeles). Spielerisch sind die verschiedenen Positionen im Raum präsentiert und erfrischend locker zu einem Ganzen gefügt. Und anyway – who gets to call it art? Vernissage 13. Juni 2012, 18.00 Uhr, live The Lombego Surfers und Robert Grave Mittwoch, 13. Juni 2012 – Sonntag, 17. Juni 2012, M54, Mörsbergerstrasse 54, 4057 Basel ____________________________________________________________________________________________________  Artist : Miami: Robert Chambers, Mette Tommerup/Pip Brant, Walter Robinson, Jacek J. Kolasinski. Basel: Lex Vögtli, Franziska Furter, Sue Irion, Dirk Bonsma. Los Angeles: York Chang, Dmitry Kmelnitsky, Mei Xian Qiu, Susan Sironi June 13 – June 17 During Art 43 Basel, PING PONG presents artists from Basel, Miami and Los Angeles. This years involvement of the LAAA artist group is motivated by a thematic collaboration with Miami. PING PONG is a project documenting, exploring and stimulating the artistic endeavours of parallel cities. Artists working with similar techniques, materials or with roots in the same cultural/political backgrounds are chosen and paired off with their counterparts in another city. PING-PONG-Miami during Art|Basel|Miami (Dec 5 – 9); PING-PONG-Los Angeles Sept 2012. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________ living-ect-mei-xian-qiu             ____________________________________________________________________________________________________ HYPERALLERGIC ARTICLE A Hundred Flowers Bloom When China Invades by An Xiao on April 26, 2012 qiu2 LOS ANGELES — In 1957, Mao Zedong launched the Hundred Flowers Campaign. It was to be a glorious liberalization, an flourishing of the arts, intellectualism and culture. A few weeks later, threatened by the tide of criticism sweeping in, the Communist Party would crack down on their blooming flowers. Mao’s declaration to “let a hundred flowers bloom” is often mistranslated as “Let a thousand flowers bloom.” Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom, a photographic series by Los Angeles artist Mei Xian Qiu, pays reference to this brief period in Chinese history. The first place winner of the 2012 juried competition at the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, Flowers is a series of digital photos on Plexiglas that depict, as Qiu’s introductory placard says, “a Chinese takeover of the United States.” The installation at LACDA creates an ominous vibe to the show, as two of the men from the photos kiss in black-and-white slow motion while an ambient soundtrack resounds through the space. But the takeover, far from a bloody invasion, is filled with cherry blossoms, a “sweet conceit of romance and violence,” as Qiu writes in her 2011 statement. Qiu plays with this inversion and cross-cultural exchange further by working not with Chinese nationals but “Pan Asian Americans who could be perceived as Chinese,” as well as artists and academics who study classical China. The military uniforms themselves come from a photography studio in Beijing that allows foreign visitors to re-enact images from the Cultural Revolution. And the battle more often comes in the form of kissing and holding flowers. The images, already strong, are just the start of a larger series exploring this topic. Qiu tells me she has plans to do “different storylines,” with “different little substories of the main story.” Qiu’s series, like China’s rise on the world stage, is complex and fascinating.

Mei Xian Qiu, "8990"

Mei Xian Qiu, “8990”

____________________________________________________________________________________________________ Lenscratch Sunday, October 23, 2010  Mei Xian Qiu Los Angeles photographer, Mei Xian Qiu, mixes her identities and influences in her new exhibition, Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom, opening at Gallery 825 in Los Angeles on October 16 and running through November 12th., “Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom,” is a series of photographs exploring anxieties of power and globalism, national and intercultural identity, and the notion of non self-constructed and deconstructed individualism. The photographs present a sweet conceit of romance and violence. The subjects’ posture and expression remain sentimental, vulnerable and unformed, yet there is a hidden danger signaled by their military uniforms and the environment.