ASHEVILLE, NC.- The Museum presents the exhibition Mel Chin: High, Low and In Between. Visitors to the exhibition will enjoy a special installation, The Funk & Wag from A to Z, shown alongside recent works by Chin representing the artists ruminations on war, religion and politics.
Recognized as an important artist of our time, Mel Chins work evades easy classification. Analytical and poetic, he combines cross-cultural aesthetics and complex ideas, exploring natural and social ecology and the role of art in provoking greater social awareness and responsibility.
Mel Chin: High, Low and In Between features a new installation of The Funk & Wag from A to Z, originally curated by Ann Harithas for the Nave Museum in Victoria, TX. As in the original installation, Chin extracts images from all 25 volumes of the 1953 Funk & Wagnalls Encyclopedia and reconfigures them as collages, unleashing the potentiality of images trapped by historical context in this new configuration of the work for the Asheville Art Museum. Through Chins creation of over five hundred dramatic, black and white collages, compelling new political and psychological associations emerge to confound and inspire.
Mel Chin is known for the broad range of approaches in his art, including works that require multi-disciplinary, collaborative teamwork and works that conjoin cross-cultural aesthetics with complex ideas.
For instance, from 1995 to 1997, Chin organized ninety people to produce In the Name of the Place, a conceptual public art project conducted on prime-time television. This work debuted at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, CA, and concluded with an auction at Sothebys with all proceeds donated to create educational scholarships. In 1997, Chin completed two large-scale public commissions, titled Seven Wonders and Signal. Seven Wonders, located in the Sesquicentennial Park in Houston, TX, featured the art of 1,050 public school children born in the year of the Sesquicentennial, realized in seven seventy-foot high towers lit as lanterns along the city waterway. Signal, a collaboration with The Six Nations of the Iroquois and Seneca Tribe member Peter Jemison, was designed for the Broadway/Lafayette Subway Station in New York City.
Chin also promotes works of art that have the ultimate effect of benefiting science, as in Revival Field, 1990-ongoing, and also in the current Operation Paydirt project, an attempt to make New Orleans, and cities across the U.S., lead-safe cities (see www.fundred.org). These projects are consistent with a conceptual philosophy, which emphasizes the practice of art to include sculpting and bridging the natural and social ecology.
Mel Chin continues to exhibit extensively in the United States and Europe, including one-man exhibitions at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC, the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN, the Menil Collection, Houston, TX, Storefront for Art and Architecture, NYC, and the Fabric Workshop, Philadelphia, PA. Chin was one of 16 artists included in the first year of the PBS Series, Art of the 21st Century, in 2001. A retrospective exhibition of his artwork will be presented at the New Orleans Museum of Art in 2014.