Since it first opened last fall, the Museum of Contemporary Art in People’s Park has put on some flashy exhibitions and is known more (in Shanghaiist’s opinion) for their trendy parties than thought provoking art. Saturday’s launch party for the China addition to Nokia’s Connect to Art was no exception. Connect to Art is Nokia’s ongoing project that allows contemporary artwork to be downloaded on to your phone, making art more accessible to a larger part of the public. Although the Chinese Connect to Art project includes five of the best contemporary Chinese artists (Yang Fudong, Zhang Peili, Feng Mengbo, Ai Weiwei and Xu Bing) the party ended up being another fashionable, bass thumping mess. The main attraction was not the artists but a group of Italian “sound artists” mixing beats on MoCA’s deck while blinding the audience with flashing headlights. The five artists’ works were shown on small screens against one wall but the beautiful people were more interested in the free alcohol than the artwork.
Curiously enough, for an exhibition that was made primarily to be shown on mobile phones, there were none available to show people exactly how it works. Shanghaiist went to the press conference, where they had phones available with the artworks already downloaded, so we were able to experience what it would be like to have an original piece of art on one’s phone. By the time the official launch party (which was held at the MoCA cafe) started, the phones had been taken away, the lights were dimmed and turned red, and all information regarding Connect to Art was gone (at least from what Shanghaiist could see). It’s a shame that the museum turns their openings into just another excuse to party, especially when there were some particularly clever works on display. Hopefully they’ll learn that choosing style over substance gets old pretty quickly.
Go to the Nokia website to learn more about Connect to Art and how to download the works.
Image from the Museum of Contemporary Art.