Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative
No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia
February 22 – May 22, 2013
No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia is the inaugural exhibition of the Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative, a multi-year collaboration that will chart creative activity and contemporary art in three geographic regions—South and Southeast Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East and North Africa. Organized by June Yap, Guggenheim UBS MAP Curator, South and Southeast Asia, the exhibition focuses on the artistic practices and cultural traditions of that region, which includes Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Myanmar, Bangladesh, and India. Following an exhibition model that is both integrative and contextual, No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia will reflect a range of the most salient cultural practices and intellectual discourses from these areas. Following its presentation in New York, the exhibition will travel to a venue in the focus region and one other elsewhere in the world. The art works in the exhibition, along with others acquired as part of Guggenheim UBS MAP, will become part of the Guggenheim's permanent collection.
No Country investigates the notion of culture as fundamentally borderless, revealing networks of influence and exchange within the region. Drawn from the opening line of William Butler Yeats's poem "Sailing to Byzantium" (1928), which later inspired the title of Cormac McCarthy's novel No Country for Old Men (2005), the exhibition title underscores a central question: How is the designation "South and Southeast Asia" defined and understood internationally? No Country considers the impact of ethno-nationalism, historical colonization, and present-day globalization on identities in the region and how the region is marked culturally by its intertwined histories and shared social, religious, and creative traditions.
No Country examines the region from within, looking at the geopolitics of South and Southeast Asia through the work of a cross-generational selection of artists. The exhibition includes painting, sculpture, photography, video, and performance documentation, and examines a range of topics emerging from Ms. Yap's curatorial investigations. These topics include cross-cultural encounters and negotiations; conceptions of nation, identity, and religion; historical interpretation and narratives; quasi-archival responses to cultural appropriation, and new developments in media and aesthetics. The exhibition checklist and participating artist list for No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia will be available in late 2012.
Guggenheim UBS MAP Online Platform
The Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative incorporates a rich online hub (guggenheim.org/MAP) designed to present and contextualize the project's content and facilitate multidisciplinary learning and cross-cultural participation. Supplementing No Country are perspectives from artists, curators, and scholars from within South and Southeast Asia, who share their viewpoints about conditions of life and aspects of artistic production in their respective countries. The contributions will inquire into topics, mediums, and artistic communities beyond those explored in the exhibition.
Current contributions include essays by artist and art historian Iftikhar Dadi, who shares his perspective on contemporary curatorial practice in South Asia; and Patrick D. Flores, Professor of Art History, Theory, and Criticism at the University of the Philippines at Diliman, who writes on the complexity of art in Southeast Asia, both historically and currently. Upcoming contributions include a conversation between Arts Initiative Tokyo Deputy Director Roger MacDonald and Indonesian sound artist Duto Hardono; an article about politically-infused Indonesian street art by writer and graphic designer Leonhard Bartolomeus; and a piece about the changing relationship between the Asian and Australian art scenes by Russell Storer, Head of Asian and Pacific Art at Queensland Art Gallery / Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane. New contributions will be added to the online platform throughout the duration of the project.
Guggenheim UBS MAP Educational Programming
In conjunction with No Country, a series of public and academic programs will be presented in New York and at locations in South and Southeast Asia. The programs and accompanying resource materials will evolve from a dynamic process of cross-cultural and professional exchange among the Guggenheim curatorial and education staff, the project curators, the artists, and colleagues from participating institutions.
The first public program will be a conversation titled MAP: Regarding South and Southeast Asia at The Jim Thompson House Art Center in Bangkok, Thailand, on Wednesday, November 28, 2012. Hosted by Alexandra Munroe, Guggenheim Senior Curator of Asian Art; June Yap, MAP Curator of South and Southeast Asia; and Gridthiya Gaweewong, Artistic Director, The Jim Thompson House Art Center, the event will feature six distinguished art historians and regional curators who will discuss the topics of community and regionalism in relation to art and culture. The program will be translated into Thai and transcripts from the event will be publicly accessible through the Asia Art Archive, as well as on the Guggenheim UBS MAP web hub.
Visitors to the Guggenheim presentation of No Country will be able to access multimedia mobile tours and a dynamic array of artist talks, live events, films, and symposia. School tours, resource materials for teachers, after-school, and weekend family programs will also be available.
About Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative
The comprehensive MAP program, unprecedented in its areas of concentration and approach, is divided into three phases—South and Southeast Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East and North Africa—and encompasses curatorial residencies, international touring exhibitions, audience-driven educational programming, and acquisitions for the Guggenheim's permanent collection. Conceived to engage artists, curators, educators, and a range of other audiences, Guggenheim UBS MAP seeks to catalyze dialogue and creative interaction both regionally and globally, fostering lasting relationships among institutions, artists, scholars, museum-goers, and the online community. Works selected by specially appointed regional MAP curators will enter the permanent collection of the Guggenheim under the auspices of the Guggenheim UBS MAP Purchase Fund and will be presented in three traveling exhibitions, each of which will begin at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. The program builds upon and reflects the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation's distinguished history of internationalism, as manifest today in its global network of museums and wide-ranging art and education programs.
The Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative is supported by UBS.