NY1's celebration of Asian American Heritage Week continues in Chinatown, where several Chinese restaurants and contemporary artists are creating a unique cultural exchange in a project that is up through July. NY1's Arts reporter Stephanie Simon filed the following report.
Of course, there's plenty of great takeout in Chinatown, but artist Jason Bailor Losh is adding a whole new flavor with his art project "Chinese Take Out." He asked Chinatown restaurants to give him objects from their establishments, in exchange for new works of art.
The objects that were "taken out" are now on view at the Art In General gallery on Walker Street.
"You'll see a lot of objects that are fairly cliche and represent things that you'd probably see in a Chinese restaurant all the time, and you may ask yourself, 'Why are we showing them in the gallery space?' It's because they're culturally revelent and they have a significance to the locations and they mean something to those locations," says Losh. "It could be about feng shui, it could be about bringing prosperity to their businesses, and as an average viewer and attendee of these restaurants, we just walk by. We see things and we don't pay attention to it."
At Old Shanghai Deluxe restaurant, co-owner Yu Lin Zhu gave a traditional Chinese landscape for a contemporary photograph of a tree by a house by artist Lucas Blalock.
"I think a cultural exchange between Chinese traditional art and Western modern art has a lot of significance for our costumers and also for myself," says Zhu through an interpreter. "I am myself also a lover of photography."
The photograph, which places a flat, white outline around the tree, is especially welcome in Old Shanghai Deluxe.
"This piece uses this technique that comes from the film era in photography, where if you want to remove an object from its surroundings, say lipstick in a lipstick ad, you would need to sort of paint around it with a white-out material, and then it would allow you to be able to print it just sort of separate from its background," says Blalock. "But this idea can be transferred or sent from one context to another without much change."
When Losh was picking restaurants for the projects, he wasn't just interested in decor, but was also interested in good food. Even thought the project is called "Chinese Take Out," it actually encourages people to eat in and take in their surroundings.