In the last century, the international modern art world has risen. Still, it has been significantly dominated by North American and European artists, where more often than Asian and African artists, their works have been overlooked. But today, many international galleries, curators, and auction houses of the West have another take on the way Asian art is treated in the world market of art. The gap is not there for them, but someone will beg to differ: Pearl Lam, the owner of Pearl Lam Galleries.
According to Lam, Asian art has much to offer, and the West has not opened up its space for Asian artists as it should have. According to the international gallerist Pearl Lam, one of the main reasons is that the West is intimidated by Asia, mainly China, which has been a considerable barrier. So, does Pearl Lam has a solution to remove the impediment?
Pearl Lam: Changing the Art World Conversation
Pearl Lam is the most recognizable gallerist in the world who used her influence to change the conversation and understanding of Chinese art in the West. The first step was with her Pearl Lam Galleries in Shanghai and Hong Kong, where she showcased Chinese contemporary and abstract art. Second, promoting new and unconventional artists who were not part of the art academia and could not find a place in the ‘elite art galleries.’ Third was the opening of the China Art Foundation in 2008.
The focus of opening the Foundation is to forge a dialogue between Chinese art and how the West perceives it. But it won’t be a dialogue if it is a one-way street. According to Lam, China is also at fault because they have misread the West for decades now, and it needs to change. The way to move forward is with art, a ‘soft power,’ as Pearl Lam puts it. Pearl states that when art is seen, mainly contemporary art, and one wishes to understand it, the viewer needs to spend time with it to understand or read about the artist’s intention and biography. After the process, understanding the artist’s and country’s culture becomes more accessible, and it no longer poses intimidation. Furthermore, the West needs to stop its arrogance of defining Chinese art as good and bad without understanding the people, their heritage, and their culture. Instead, they must be more open to the differences and continue the dialogue.
Pearl Lam: The Prominent Female Entrepreneur
If the world is seeing the line-up of Chinese artists in the world auction houses, galleries, and art fairs like Art Stage Singapore and Art Basel Hong Kong, then there is one person who needs to be thanked for her perseverance – Pearl Lam. She single-handedly changed the art landscape of the world and opened the West for Chinese contemporary art by creating the missing links plaguing the Chinese art world.
International art gallerist Pearl Lam’s perseverance in understanding the gaps between the curator’s catalog of Chinese contemporary art and the artist’s interpretation paid off finally on meeting with Professor Gao Minglu. Lam hopes that with this China Art Foundation, she can help the new Chinese artists understand Western classic, modern, contemporary, and abstract art and vice-versa. Lam recognizes that one of the reasons for Asian art not reaching the West is the lack of communication and the scarcity of literature on Asian art and artists, which she wants to change.