Alumnus Wang Xu '13 in Exhibition at Vincent Price Art Museum
January 15, 2019
Alumnus Wang Xu '13 is in an exhibition at Vincent Price Art Museum in Monterey Park, California from December 8, 2018 through March 9, 2019. The exhibition, entitled Garden of Seasons, includes a new monumental sculpture, Athena (2018), and a two-channel video that records the sculpture's creation as well as reflecting on the historic and economic conditions that determine its significance.
The exhibition is produced and curated by Equitable Vitrines, a Los Angeles-based nonproft organization “committed to expanding the collective understanding of art in the public sphere by advancing forms that are at once nuanced and widely accessible.”
According to the Vincent Price Art Museum, a central component to the exhibition “is Heritage Falls Park, located in Monterey Park near the Vincent Price Art Museum, that was built in the 1920s and includes a niche that originally housed a marble sculpture of a female figure referred to as ‘Athena.’ The sculpture, which disappeared shortly after it was installed, was not replaced until 2005, when the Monterey Park Historical Society installed a replacement 'Athena,' which like its predecessor, bears no formal signifiers commonly associated with the Greek goddess Athena."
In 2017, Equitable Vitrines, worked closely with Wang Xu to present a proposal to the City of Monterey Park in 2017 to present Wang’s sculpture Eve (2015) at Heritage Falls Park. According to Vincent Price Museum, “Wang’s Eve, produced in Quyang, China where the 2005 'Athena' sculpture also hailed from, was made by recovering a damaged statue of the Biblical figure and re-carving it in the image of a woman who worked at the marble quarry and factory where it was created.” The proposal generated heated debate about the site in relationship to the nature of public artwork and was resisted by a group of residents who “claimed that Wang’s sculpture, placed even temporarily, would irredeemably disturb the historical nature of the Park, and the perceived social cohesion of the city,” according to Equitable Vitrines. The controversy lead to the rescinding of the plan, and prompted the production of these new works in Garden of Seasons.
Wang Xu was born in Dalian, China and received his BFA in sculpture from Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, before pursuing an MFA at Columbia University. He is a 2018 resident of The Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and has exhibited recently at 47 Canal, New York; Shanghai Project, Shanghai; and SculptureCenter, New York.