Shanghai Passages: “Longtang” Photographs by Gong Jianhua opens on January 12, 2017, and remains on view through April 21, 2017, in the Harnett Museum of Art, University Museums. This exhibition features photographs by contemporary Chinese photographer Gong Jianhua (born 1953), who extensively photographed Shanghai’s longtang neighborhoods in the 1980s and 1990s. Unique to Shanghai, longtang are a dense style of housing that arose in the late nineteenth century as an adaptation of the traditional Chinese courtyard home in the urban townhouse format.
As the title of the exhibition suggests, longtang were organized into walled urban neighborhoods, each interlaced with a grid of progressively narrower lanes and alleyways. Situated chronologically after the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) and on the cusp of Shanghai’s resurgence as a global economic hub, Gong’s images provide vivid access to these semi-private passages that once dominated Shanghai’s urban fabric. In the past few decades, however, in the context of Shanghai’s rapid expansion, longtang have been razed to make way for high-rise developments. With some irony, preservation has sometimes meant redevelopment as luxury commercial and residential real estate.
The 25 gelatin silver prints in the exhibition comprise half of the promised gift from Kent and Marcia Minichiello, which was divided between the Joel and Lila Harnett Print Study Center, University of Richmond Museums, and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. In celebration of the gift, the two institutions are presenting concurrent exhibitions and a series of related events.
This exhibition is a collaboration between the University of Richmond Museums and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and was curated by Kristopher Kersey, Assistant Professor of Art History, University of Richmond. At the University Museums, the exhibition and related programs are made possible in part with support from the University’s Cultural Affairs Committee and with funds from the Louis S. Booth Arts Fund.
Thursday, January 12, 2017, 6 to 8 p.m.
6 p.m., Artist’s Talk, Camp Concert Hall, Modlin Center for the Arts
“I Photographed Shanghai for 36 Years” Gong Jianhua, photographer, with translator Jessica Chan, Assistant Professor of Chinese Studies, Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, University of Richmond
7 to 8 p.m., Reception and viewing of the exhibition Shanghai’s Passages: “Longtang” Photographs by Gong Jianhua
Harnett Museum of Art, University Museums, Modlin Center for the Arts
Presented in collaboration with Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
Sunday, February 12, 2017, 1:30 to 2:45 p.m.
1:30 p.m., Curator’s Talk, Harnett Museum of Art, Modlin Center for the Arts
“The Visual Culture of the Everyday in Shanghai’s Alleyways” Kristopher Kersey, Assistant Professor of Art, Department of Art and Art History, University of Richmond, and curator of the exhibition
2:15 to 2:45 p.m., Tea Reception and viewing of the exhibition Shanghai Passages: “Longtang” Photographs by Gong Jianhua
Event is part of the 12th Annual ChinaFest, for details visit theROSEgroup.org