Official Artist
Simon Birch
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Why are there no Chinese science fiction movies?

So I am back in HK after a very educational trip to NYC.I had to move out of my lovely apartment of the last ten years, a huge space in the middle of HK, a 70 year old building, on of the last low rises on my street. It of course, such a cliche, got knocked down to be tuned into a massive tasteless residential block. This is the HK way. So I got evicted and threw a goodbye party which quickly turned into an out of control riot as hundreds of gatecrashers turned up and trashed the place. Which was fine because they are tearing it down anyway but left me a bit sad to see my home with all the memories, abused. It was of course my idea in the first place to trash it. Seemed like a good one at the time. Twat.Now I'm basically homeless, sofa surfing and deciding whether to bother getting a new place or just to keep traveling. The world is supposed to end this year so maybe I'll go see it one more time.My lovely apartment after the last party. Now it's a pile of rubble. Progress....My last day in HK before I left was a fun one, a friend took the lovely Cleo and I for a spin around HK and New Territories in his own helicopter. Dope![](http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-ttJNFMukjMg/TyT9UWah-qI/AAAAAAAACFM/ciLOYhMixgc/s400/cleo2.jpg)Ok, so NYC....An immensely positive experience. I don't know the city that well so being there for an extended period really allowed me to see it all from street level, the good, the bad and the hipsters.I was staying in Lower East Side, Alphabet City, which years ago woulda been pretty ghetto but now, as with much of Manhattan, it's losing it's edge and has become as clean and safe, gentrified, as the rest of the ex-Dutch, ex-British colony, ex-native american land. Now it belongs to money of course. But then, don't we all.There's still a little grime here and there, I've never seen so many homeless and crazies. I'm not sure if they come from all over USA to congregate in NYC or they come to the city normal and it turns them crazy. Maybe be a bit of both. If I was homeless I'd get to Florida asap, a lot warmer.On my first night I walked down to the local bar to meet a friend and passed a sweet little old man who looked like part of the neighborhood, i gave him a polite nod, he said 'go fuck yourself'. Nice. Welcome to the jungle.I spent most days walking the streets, something that is remarkably hard to do in HK. It was a pleasure to daily stroll many miles without an incline in sight. Every street offers up a cool cafe or bar or bookshop or gallery an overwhelming cultural energy. From street level and grass roots stores to the many museums and parks and venues. Just a wonderful city.

I spent much time walking the galleries. There are many in Lower East Side that are tiny but exciting and raw. (Joe Sola at Blackstone gallery was a good one. His work was a video of the artist in his studio. He would invite critics or gallerists to see meet him and when they walked into the room he would run and leap straight through the glass window, jackass style). The glut of big player galleries are in Chelsea which are rigid and commercial on a whole other level. In LOE the staff are often the owners and are friendly and engaging and easy to communicate with. In Chelsea the people are often cold and exclusive. But that's just some of the people that work there, it doesn't take away from the truth of the work which, uptown or downtown, is wonderful or awful in varying degrees. LOE can be awful but at least risky and surprising, as is Brooklyn, whereas, in Chelsea, there are no surprises, everything is geared to cover their expensive rents. Nonetheless, some of the work is fantastic and humbling. Joan Mitchell at Cheim and Read being one of them, Peter Liversidge at Sean Kelly was great, and Michael Borremans at David Zwirner being another.Peter Liversidge, a little known young British artist. It looks like a pile of junk but was actually a really well thought out and fascinating exhibition. Joan Mitchell's work was amazing hung together, works from the last few years of her life. Wouldn't have had the same impact at an art fair..... Michael Borremans wonderful oil paintings. I asked how much it was, US$800,000. I said I'd be interested at 10% off. They said no.It all gives one perspective on ones own work as an artist and ones level of activity. It made me feel better about my work but also made me realise I still have a long way to go. The institutions are all packed. Every museum was incredibly well attended, I found that very exciting. So many people pouring through the museums. The MOMA had a DeKooning retrospective which was amazing, Guggenheim had Cattelan which was really fun but one of the highlights was the Museum of Natural History which really makes you feel like being a kid again.

Above from the Museum of Natural History Cattelan at the Guggenheim, very entertaining.Below is work by Carston Holler at the New Museum. His work is a bit circusy, not unlike some of my installation work. I actually met him a while back. He came to my exhibition Hope and Glory. I didn't know who he was when i was introduced to him or what his work was, this seemed to upset him. He was unfriendly. It was a short conversation. I asked him if he wanted to grab a beer. He said he was busy.  Birds in cages, must have ripped that idea offa Dragon-I. I had a go on the slide that snaked through the buildings floors. It felt sad. All this art activity of course makes me, a Hong Kong artist, very jealous as we have nowhere to show our work or any of the platform that is so apparent in NYC, and our city is just so conservative and has little of that edge or indiv

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Location (City, Country)
Hong Kong
Member Since
September 27, 2007