Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas


  • Made In China: Observations and Understanding
  • 18-Nov-2006 - 04-Feb-2007
  • North Balcony, Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas

Made in China offers a unique window on the world's manufacturing epicenter, as seen through the eyes - and digital cameras - of 24 multidisciplinary KU students and two Department of Design faculty members who made a month-long pilgrimage to China in summer 2006. The exhibition installation diverges from what may be perceived as a typical museum presentation-rather than labeling each work and identifying the artists individually, the photographs are clustered in profusion, affixed to deep red walls with ordinary pushpins, as are dozens of yellow tags with personal quotes revealing students' experiences and observations while abroad. Made in China: Observations and Understanding represents the latest collaborative effort between the Spencer and the School of Fine Arts, featuring striking photographs and commentaries by KU students who traveled to China last summer for a study abroad program. The exhibition, which may travel to other venues around the state of Kansas, is the creative result and synthesis of two courses offered in the KU School of Fine Arts, Department of Design: "Understanding China through Photography," taught by Lau, and "Made in China: Dismantling the Mantra-Understanding China through Industrial Culture and our Consumer Society," taught by Tveit. The students represented a variety of disciplines, including design, art, anthropology, political science, linguistics, architecture, history, and art history.

"Eyes half closed, they arrived in Hong Kong with luggage from America bearing many personal effects that were made in China-this was an authentic experience for each individual of dragging things back and forth between the manufacturing and the consuming cultures," Lau writes in his essay for the gallery guide. "....Confidence, awareness and compassion came gradually in every step of their journey, and extended beyond those 26 days. In doing so, we all moved closer to understanding the complex and evolving dimensions of the human experience."

Organized by Design professors Pok-Chi Lau and May Tveit.