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Young Project Profile: UNTITLEDdialogue

UNTITLED:dialogue is a one-year project organized by Jessie Yang and He Yu.

This duo met at New York Univeristy’s Steinhardt Graduate school for Visual Arts Management. Both originally from China, (Shanghai and Sichuan, respectively,) they had the idea to create a monthly forum for further dialogue that centered around Contemporary Asian Art being created locally, in New York. They have garnered a list of over 250 in their network, and growing. Their events have had between 70-80 people show up, which has increased from about 20 at the first event.

“We hope to create a space where artists and the public could meet and interact in an informal setting, with more possibilites for dialogue.”

He Yu (also known as Echo) says that attendees have loved the atmosphere for these events. The artists like the attention as well. Some of their artists are in temporary residencies in New York and are looking for opportunities to talk about their ideas outside of the immediate circle of the program they are participating in, and to broaden their network. The second artist in their series, Na Yingyu, is a video artist and connected with a documentary film maker at one event and has made plans to collaborate.

UNTITLEDdialogue, a series of cultural talks with Asian related artists, curators, writers, independent film makers, designers, architects and musicians in New York.”

When they came to New York, Jessie and Echo didn’t find a lot of events specific to Asian Art outside of the larger and more traditional institutions such as the Asia Society. Even less so when it came to contemporary art, including among commercial galleries.

By providing an informal setting, they have created a free platform around contemporary Asian work where they invite all kinds of international cultural dialogue to occur. For example, John Ransom Phillips was another one of the artists Ud has worked with, he is American and creates images that contain allusions to Chinese sub-text.

With one exception, so far, Ran Tea House has been hosting the Ud program. The tea house also has programming of their own, which is how Echo originally found them. After a screening of the recently released documentary on the work of artist Ai Weiwei she approached the owner, and because their ideas were so similar, it was a natural fit. They set up a schedule for the events, and it has been a smooth collaborative relationship ever since. The only negative aspect that Echo observed is that she would like to find a way to bring in more revenue for the Tea House, and artists.

Jessie has been contributing customized desserts for each event, including a Japanese theme for the event highlighting one Musician from Kagawa.

“I really enjoy making dessert for UNTITLEDdialogue. And I try to relate the dessert to the theme of the dialogue as much as I can. It just makes everyone happy. I would never have thought that studying visual arts would take me to such a new and unexpected path.”

Jessie has applied to a Pastry Arts program at the French Culinary Institute next March. “Though it seems that I found my true calling in cooking and baking, I still love art. And who says food is not art? It is absolutely a work of art.”

Jessie hopes to continue to find ways of blending visual and culinary art experiences after Ud concludes.

In the future, Echo is interested in organizing gallery tours and in-studio visits rather than a program located in a singular venue. One of their events already has taken place at an artist studio (as opposed to the Ran space). Although the different setting can pose logistical challenges, it has the benefit of combining the artist’s network more easily with the network they have been building.

Echo cited a female Taiwanese author, Chen Mao Ping, as a rare female artist icon whom she admired. The author’s published work can be found under the nickname “Sanmao”, and became popular in Taiwan and mainland China in the late 1970’s. She also became infamous for her alleged suicide in 1991.

When asked to share any words of counsel for practicing artists Echo urged that artists must take the time to look into themselves. Everyone is very creative in the art world and trying to assert themselves. You can be influenced by others so easily that it becomes very important to take the time to be introspective and know your own creative goals, and artistic character.

“On October 21st, we’ll present our sixth event with gifted jazz singer and composer Le Zhang. The event will commence with a Jazz performance, highlighting recomposed Shanghai pop music from 1930s and 1940s. The performance will be followed by a talk about the story of “Shanghai Jazz”, the historical and current Jazz scene in Shanghai, and progressive fusion of Western Jazz culture and Chinese pop music in 1930s.” Read More….

​​Time: Sunday October 21st from 16:00 – 18:00
Location: Ran Space, 269 KENT AVE.
(BTW S1 STR. and S2 STR.), BROOKLYN, NY, 11211

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