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It has been nearly two months now I have been holding a place as a Visiting Scholar at the university of Alfred in the US. I spend  my time mostly working in the studio, but I have also been to New York recently to visit museums and galleries which I find stimulating in search of additional inspiration. As a Printmaking Artist, naturally I am more interested in the relation between the Printmaking and the contemporary art. Previously I have seen a lot of contemporary art which is mostly connected with the subjects of ‘identity’ and ‘political issues’ in Germany and Italy. Admittedly, I did not understand those artworks, in fact, could not connect myself with them either.

In order to save money, I found a place in Brooklyn. This being a less privileged area, where mostly black population lives, with high instances of crime and shootings occurring daily on the streets, was a totally new experience to what I had been used to as my usual neighbourhood. It was somewhat shocking to witness scenes such as: black people on the street who looked very high, homeless people laying on the bare concrete of the sidewalks. Our landlord is a white man, his wife is a black lady.He is not very hospitable, I am afraid. The day when I drove over from Alfred, I parked, accidentally blocking the fire hydrant. When I brought the $115 fine ticket to my landlord, in the hope he could clarify to me the official details/reason for the fine, his response was utterly unhelpful: ‘This is not my problem, it has nothing to do with me.’

In the days to follow, I have met with the Chinese artists who live oversea, Chinese museum director who I knew from before , friends who are here to study and lecture, etc. We visited the Metropolis, MOMA, GuggenheimMu Art Museum, we went out for dinner in Chinatown, we have been introduced to friends’ friends,  and I had the opportunity to see their real life in New York. We also visited Xu Bing’s studio, and in a few days’ time I will go to the printmaking workshop of the Pace Gallery and so on.

New York is a place  full of confusion,  but at the same time full of desire too. This is a cradle for artists. It has attracted and accumulated all the cultures and all contradictions in the world, but it is still  New York, the centre of the world. People here  always say:  “New York,  It does not belong to the US, it belongs to the world.” I think this sentence can sum up my feelings for New York.

In a few days’ time, I will go back to Alfred University continuing my printing art,  I think the trip to New York has given me more insight knowledge of the world, I hope to express these feelings through my new artworks.

Wrote by Hou Weiguo on October 28, 2019 in Brooklyn, USA