China Travel Photo of the Day: Open to interpretation in Shanghai (art that really does mean squat)

Travel | by David Perry
Posted: November 9th, 2010 | Updated: November 10th, 2010 | Comments
The squatty potty may be the bane of your average Western visitor to China, but Shaw Xu Zhifeng's installation of a Mona Lisa brand toilet on a Shanghai gallery wall invites a different sort of deliberation.... Artist Shaw Xu Zhifeng's "Mona Lisa Smiles" installation Featured alongside some dozen other works  by a diverse mix of international and Chinese artists in OV Gallery's "Shifting Definitions" show, Shaw's "Mona Lisa Smileless" bemuses and befuddles as part of an exhibition intended to prompt thought about gender relations in China, especially the roles of women. Connected to a small microphone and a speaker on the other side of the wall, the toilet may remind many of Dada provocateur Marcel Duchamp's groundbreaking found-object urinal not the only Chinese artist paying homage to the Mona Lisa).... Shanghai's gallery scene is as active as ever, and with recent moves by authorities to keep artists from pushing envelopes further than authorities would like, edgy art is actually edgy in a sense that seldom holds true in the West any more—just ask French Concession alone boasts a good two or three day's worth of contemporary galleries to explore. On display at OV Gallery in the French Concession (Shaoxing Lu between Ruijin Lu and Shaanxi Nan Lu) through December 18.
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