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A gallery space with white walls and light grey floors is dotted with various sculptural forms throughout. A large wooden pavilion structure stands on the right with large sheets of rice paper lanterns hanging off it.

Ask an M+ Curator: Orchids in the Gallery, and More

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Throughout the exhibition Noguchi for Danh Vo: Counterpoint, M+ opened up for questions! Visitors and online audiences could ask the exhibition curators anything about the exhibition and the works on display. Answers were then posted right here on M+ Stories.

Welcome to the second, and final, post. Thank you to everyone who has submitted questions!

Noguchi for Danh Vo: Counterpoint exhibition curators:
Doryun Chong, Deputy Director & Chief Curator at M+
Dakin Hart, Senior Curator at The Noguchi Museum

‘Why did you put orchids in the exhibition?’

woman with long hair dressed in a yellow coat leans against large, dark glass windows. She looks at the camera with a half smile.

What Is at Stake? A Chat with Shirley Tse

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The 58th Venice Biennale is on the horizon, and this year M+ and the Hong Kong Arts Development Council are once again working together to present Hong Kong’s contribution: a solo exhibition with sculptor Shirley Tse, who has been selected to represent the territory. Tse recently spoke to Winny Leung, associate editor at M+, about her path to becoming an artist, how she chooses her mediums, and the focus of her Biennale exhibition, Shirley Tse: Stakeholders, Hong Kong in Venice.

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‘Not long into his career, pianist Herbie Hancock performed with jazz giant Miles Davis. In the middle of the performance, out of sheer nerves, he hit the wrong chord. Just as he was struck with worry, he heard Davis improvise with it and play a different melody. For Davis at this moment, there was no such thing as “wrong”; he just responded to and interacted with the music.’ Shirley Tse tells the story with profound excitement.

Monochrome film still in which a skeleton dressed in a suit with a white bowtie, black top hat, and glasses holds up a skull mask in the Mexican Day of the Dead style with a gloved hand.

1930s Mexico, Isamu Noguchi, and Sergei Eisenstein’s Unfinished Mexican Film

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In 1930, Russian avant-garde film director Sergei Eisenstein traveled to Mexico to start a film project known as ¡Que viva México!—but production was eventually abandoned and the film was never finished. We are showing astonishing camera footage from this unfinished project, and a short film made by editing the available footage, as part of M+ Screenings: In the World, Of the World on 12–14 April. It is shown in the context of the Noguchi for Danh Vo: Counterpoint exhibition, drawing connections to Isamu Noguchi’s participation in the 1930s Mexican art scene in which Eisenstein’s film was shot.

Upon Charlie Chaplin’s recommendation, Sergei Eisenstein connected with writer Upton Sinclair, who helped fund the project. Eisenstein shot dozens of hours of footage for what was planned to be a multi-chapter film about the history of Mexico. Funds from the Mexican Film Trust—a production company established by Sinclair, his wife, and other investors—were soon exhausted, and Eisenstein’s chances of finishing the film himself further diminished as his re-entry visa to the United States expired and he was unable to secure an extension to his permission to remain away from the Soviet Union. Much of the footage was brought back to the U.S. by the producers, and Eisenstein’s film remained incomplete.

Below, Professor Natascha Drubek writes about the film and Eisenstein’s legacy, providing context for one of the most famous unfinished film projects in cinema history.

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Chair standing in a gallery space with white walls, viewed through a hole in in a stone sculpture. The chair has a rounded seat and backrest made out of wood and bamboo woven in a basket technique. The armature and legs are made out of elegantly bent iron rods.

What’s the Difference Between Art and Design?

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What exactly is the difference between art and design?

The M+ Collections are separated into three categories: visual art, design and architecture, and moving image. These categorisations can be useful; however, often, the boundaries between them are blurred. How, then, can we define whether something is an ‘artwork’ or a ‘design object’?

First of all, let’s quickly go over some of the traditional differences between art and design:

  • Design is functional, art is not.
  • Design solves a problem, art expresses a feeling or idea.
  • Design objects are mass-produced, artworks are unique.
  • Design is objective, art is subjective.

Think of some of the artworks or design objects you’re familiar with. You’ll probably find that you can slot many of them neatly into these two categories—but you might also find examples that poke holes in this art/design boundary.