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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.

Two photographs side by side. The photograph on the left is of a man viewed from the torso up. He is looking to the side, has his mouth open and is gesturing with his hand as if in the middle of speaking. The photograph of the right is of a man sitting in front of a window with his hands folded in his lap, looking off to the side.

Ask an M+ Curator: Curating ‘Noguchi for Danh Vo: Counterpoint’

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Time to ask a curator! Throughout the exhibition Noguchi for Danh Vo: Counterpoint, curious visitors can go ask exhibition curators Doryun Chong (Deputy Director & Chief Curator at M+) and Dakin Hart (Senior Curator at The Noguchi Museum) anything about the exhibition and the works on display. Answers are then posted right here on M+ Stories.

Below are the answers from the first round of questions—the second round of answers will be published after the exhibition’s end. Thank you to everyone who has submitted questions.

‘How do you think the colourful plinths arranged by Danh Vo underneath Noguchi’s works will affect viewers’ perception? What is the reason behind making this curatorial choice?’

Installation artwork displayed in a white gallery space in which ten fiberglass figures hang from the ceiling. They have insect-like wings and human-like puppet faces with Javanese-style headdresses, and two legs but no arms. In the center of each of their chests is a small window revealing the inner mechanical workings that power the wing movements.

Learn about Asia’s Lesser Known Exhibition Histories through Wikipedia

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Exhibitions are important pieces of the history of visual culture in their own right. Even some of the most famous exhibitions in and about Asia either have very short articles on Wikipedia, or none at all.

This is a discrepancy that M+, together with Asia Art Archive, aimed to address in the recent Wikipedia Asian Month: Edit-a-thon on Exhibition Histories, as part of both institutions’ ongoing effort to contribute to the representation of art and visual culture in Asia on Wikipedia. The event invited participants to sit down to create and improve Wikipedia articles about exhibition histories in and about Asia.

The participants added and improved thirteen Wikipedia articles about exhibitions that previously had either no article at all, or a very short one. Research materials, including original exhibition catalogues, were provided from the Asia Art Archive library to help bring this information online. In this blog post, we want to highlight some of that previously undocumented history.

Computer animated still depicting a square grassy island in the middle of an ocean at sunset. A row of increasingly tall, alternating trees and unicorn horns sticking out of the ground divides the island into two. Several shapes covered in white fabric covered in logos lie on the island.

Miao Ying and the ‘Chinternet’ Can Help You Detox from the World Wide Web

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Need an online break from the dominance of multi-billion dollar ‘unicorn’ businesses like Google and Facebook? Set your virtual private network (VPN) to mainland China, where these websites and apps are blocked, for a relaxing online retreat!

This is the satirical concept behind Shanghai– and New York–based artist Miao Ying’s Hardcore Digital Detox (2018), the first work in M+’s new online series of digital commissions housed here on M+ Stories. The browser-based work is a playful reflection on both the ‘Chinternet’ and World Wide Web, using the concept of a wellness retreat to comment on issues of global capitalism, online propaganda, and media democracy.

Below, we chat to Miao Ying about the inspiration behind the work, her relationship with censorship, and unicorn poop.

What inspired you to create an online retreat experience?