Artist brings a ‘Culture Flux’ of China to Lexington



By: Jennifer Abreu

Culture Flux, an exhibit currently on display at the Lexington Art League, attempts to display the culture shock faced by newcomers into Beijing and Hong Kong.

Artist Joel Feldman will lecture on his two pieces, “Caochangdi” (2009) and “Markets and Malls” (2010-11) at the Niles Gallery Wednesday at 5 p.m., to provide a deeper understanding of the exhibit.

“Caochangdi” is a town outside of Beijing, and the piece named after it captures the reaction of a foreigner’s first introduction to it.

“Markets and Malls” shows the shopping venues of Hong Kong, as the artist sees it.

Anna Brzyski, Chellgren endowed associate professor of art history and visual studies, and wife of Feldman, has been the organizer of Culture Flux.

“It’s an introduction for people of what China is like,” Brzyski said. “China is one of the most interesting places today; there are many people who are interested in it for a variety of reasons, be it economics, political or culture.”

Culture Flux is a part of ArtsAsia, a two week long festival to celebrate Asian culture through art.

Shana Herron, the assistant director of the Asia Center at the UK said ArtsAsia brings the best professional artists and performers from various parts of the world to represent Asian culture and bring that knowledge to campus.

“We try to cover different regions within Asia and with different arts forms, from performances to visual arts,” Herron said.

Feldman said he got his inspiration for “Caochangdi” during six months of living in the village.

“It’s an odd mix of kind of scrimpy Chinese and very polished galleries, and they all crush together,” Feldman said.

Feldman said he was amazed by the rich and diverse culture of Caochangdi. Once back in the U.S., he chose 11 of his favorite images and put them together to represent the village and his experience there. The images are shown on monitors.

“It’s very uniquely Chinese,” Feldman said about the piece.

“Markets and Malls” contrasts the two different faces of Hong Kong, according to Feldman.

While accompanying his wife on a business trip, he found a contrast in shopping on the streets of Hong Kong.

“The mall is very abstract, people are moving in a huge pace and you can’t really see them … It’s very impersonal,” said Feldman, who would stand on the top levels of the mall and take pictures of the people shopping and walking around.

He said he got a completely different feel when shooting photographs at the market.

“So I am right there in the market; I am taking pictures of the stall owners, people shopping,” Feldman said. “It’s far more personal. The piece kind of just compares the two worlds.”

Feldman will talk more about both pieces at Culture Flux in his lecture Wednesday evening.

Herron believes the festival is a great way to get students’ and the community’s attention to a side of Asia they might not know, or be too interested about.

“We all wanted a signature event to highlight the growing strengths of the Asian studies that we have here at UK,” Herron said.

Brzyski, who confesses she is not an artist herself, believes anyone can understand and enjoy the pieces.

“You don’t have to be very interested in China, you don’t have to be very familiar with contemporary arts in order to get something out of it,” Brzyski said.

The pieces are on display downtown in the Lexington Arts League gallery until Nov. 11.

For more on Joel Feldman’s work visit his website,

More information about ArtsAsia can be found on the Asia Center website,