The program involves a dual artist residency and dual exhibition, along the lines of Warhol-Basquiat and The Factory. Here, Emerging Collective seeks out activist artists, and with a specific eye toward Emerging Markets and avant-garde work.
The inaugural cycle will feature two war veterans from the two biggest militaries, making an anti-war memorial. Guo Jian, a Chinese war veteran who is now a globally recognized activist artist, and Marcus Eriksen, a talented emerging artist who fought in Iraq as a US Marine. They will collaborate on two anti-militarist works – an Iwo Jima sculpture for the 21st century and an immersive installation forcing exhibition goers to come to grips with hard truths on war, urban decay, and China’s emerging economic might. A substantial component of the proceeds from the sale of the first movement will fund the second, more experiential movement. Both will have heavy messages of non-violence, ripe for a world that’s seeing its most violent year in a decade.
In addition to the two big artworks, the exhibition will feature next-level cultural programming, a food truck designed by the artists, and a gift shop with works for sale. The creation of the artworks will be live-streamed starting on US Veteran’s Day, from a large disused space in Soho, New York City. The exhibition will open in early February 2015, and continue through Armory Art week in March.
Guo Jian is a Chinese artist who has exhibited worldwide, including the Musee de Picardie in France, and the National Gallery of Australia, and has been featured in the NY Times and Wall Street Journal. He is a third generation military veteran, having served in China’s People’s Liberation Army during the Sino-Vietnamese war. Guo’s work is heavily influenced by the Chinese cultural revolution of 1966–76, the 1980s war with Vietnam, and the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989 – in which he participated as a protestor. A member of the Cynical Realism school, his subjects wrestle with inherent contradictions – high ideals diminished by reality, heroism versus villainy, and patriotism and valor devolving into betrayal and loathing. He was influenced by the 85 New Wave Movement in Chinese contemporary art – characterized by an need to break cultural boundaries, deeper levels of communication between art and audiences, independence from institutional control, and use of disused spaces. After the events of 1989, Guo Jian became a pioneer of the Chinese avant-garde scene, and a founding member of the renowned Yuanmingyuan Artist Village.
Guo Jian was recently exiled from China, after he completed a morbid diorama of Tiananmen Square, which he covered in ground meat and left to rot. (Financial Times 1 2 3). After worldwide coverage of his arrest and detainment, Guo was deported and separated from his family, ending up in Sydney. Although he has been banned from China, Guo is free to roam, and is ready to speak out. The collaboration with Emerging Collective will be his first project since being exiled.
Two war veterans representing the worlds biggest militaries. A world famous dissident artist from China. A top emerging talent who served as a US marine in Iraq. Making large scale art installations. In Lower Manhattan. To make a grass roots cry for non-violence.
Here’s what we need.