Sorry for our absence last week! I was having our website moved to a new hosting site. blah, blah, blah! Anyway things are up and running again and life goes on. A couple weeks ago I went to hear Professor Nancy Steinhardt speak at the Huntington Library. She spoke of four architects who studied at UPenn in the 1920’s and returned to China in 1928. She told me Liu Jipiao would have known all of them!
What struck me was how similar their stories sounded compared to my grandfather’s. All were talented, driven visionaries educated in the West, wanting to bring what they had learned back to build a better China. All struggled to establish and define “Architect” in a country that had no word for that yet because all the building was done by civil engineers. My grandfather, known for his design and art, also fought to define “Architecture as Fine Art.”
In 1947 their paths diverge. They stayed in China where my grandfather left. Hearing their stories, I wonder if Liu would have been strong enough to go through what they went through. I understand a little bit better the reasons why he left. Even though he was Chiang Kai Shek’s Chief Architect, he hated politics, he just wanted to practice his art. We suppose that is why he did not join the Communist Party nor did he relocate to Taiwan with the Nationalist Government.
I think about all these things as I prepare to do my first lecture at Smith College in April. I’m excited and a little nervous as this will be my first official lecture on the subject. Although if you get me talking about Liu I can go on and on! I’ll be working with Fu Ji this month to provide her with images for the exhibit and then I can figure out what I’m going to talk about. (I’m getting nervous/excited just writing this 🙂
From Smith I plan on renting a car and driving down to Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT to visit the curator of the Mansfield Freeman Center for East Asian Studies. Unfortunately I will not be seeing my professor, Dr.Vera Schwarcz as our schedules do not align. From there I plan on staying in New York City, visit Bard School of Design, maybe catch a show and then off to spend the Easter Weekend with my father in New Jersey.
If anyone has suggestions of people I need to meet, galleries or museums I need to visit, etc. please let me know! I’m working out my itinerary at this moment!
Lots of activities and happenings on the horizon! As always, I’ll keep you posted!