Posts tagged Institute of Arts

Chinese Students’ Responses to American “Fine Arts”

Our 38 Chinese university students took a “field trip” to the Twin Cities last weekend and the following impressions are what they experienced:

Momo: During the two day-trip to Minneapolis-St. Paul, I feel I gained greatly since I saw some of fines arts of America through my personal experience and found a number of differences between America and China in the area of fine arts. First, I would like to talk something about the concert in the park. This concert was free to everyone audience. People could enjoy themselves completely since they were unrestrained. If they would like, they could dance with partners in the front of the auditorium. Children were permitted to run back and forth off the stage. In all, everyone would feel free and relaxed.

However, in China, people have to buy the tickets if they want to see the music shows in most cases. Besides that, audiences are asked to obey some rules. Most concerts prohibit people to do activities near the stage in order to avoid disturbing the performers. Under this circumstance, American artists prefer to create a casual environment to help their audiences enjoy themselves which may be the obvious difference between Chinese and American artists.

Then I would like to mention something about the gallery we visited accidentally. After dinner, on the way back to hotel, we went by a gallery and one of the paintings surprised me that it was finished by pitch on the paper rather than other common pigments and the pitch was piled up to make the painting look like something more solid. I think it is a fantastic work since seldom Chinese will choose pitch as the pigments to draw a picture. American artists are more creative!

Finally, I want to talk something about theater. American plays are quite different from Chinese ones, especially Beijing Opera. In every American play, there are a lot of props on the stage, like furniture, stairs of the building and so on. Actors and actresses use these props to performance better. However, on the contrary, in Beijing Operas, there is only a few of props and performer use their gestures or physical actions to express something like going up the stairs or feeling sad.


Knight: On Saturday I visited the Minnesota Institute of Arts. When I stepped into the museum, I definitely felt a deep cultural atmosphere. I followed our Chinese docent who has lived and worked in Minnesota for more than 20 years. There was a huge number of fine arts from different cultures and various times. First I looked around the Asian fine arts, I was absolutely shocked by what I saw. I had never seen so many fine arts put together in a single museum which are totally from different areas.

In Shanghai World EXPO, almost all of the countries in the world participated in the great ceremony and technology as well as fine arts are displayed in a modern way. In contrast, this museum kept the genuine which gave me a sense of reality feeling the charm of art. During this trip, a house that decorated with old fashion materials tracing back to QING dynasty even MING dynasty left me a deep impression. From stories I heard from the museum guide, the roof is originally from China, so were the chairs, desks and calligraphy. It was really unbelievable, what a big project it is!

One thing that was still different from China are the masterpieces created by famous artists like Van Gogh which can be looked at in a close range! In a Chinese museum, it is more strict with works of art, people can only enjoy these fine arts in a long distance through thick windows. However, large Chinese population cause many serious problems.


Candy: On Saturday, we enjoyed all the morning in the fine arts museum. The museum is different from that in China. It not only displays the arts of America, but also we could find other nation’s arts. The arts of Chinese culture gave me a deep impression. Like the dark red wooden furniture, blue and white porcelain and wallpaper of Qing Dynasty. The sculpture with marble was also very amazing. They looked like the real persons standing in front of me. The museum has the pictures of Vincent Van Gogh, “Paradise” of Paul Gauguin painting and Monet’s theme of “haystacks.”

On Sunday, we visited the science museum of Minneapolis. It is really interesting and fantastic. We did lots of experiments by ourselves and touched the equipments. I have known some knowledge about physics, chemistry and biology. I like the dinosaur models very much. They are huge and amazing. In the afternoon, we went to the Guthrie theater to see the “Sunshine boys.” That was my first time to see the theater. I sat a short distance from the actors on stage. It was a nice story about two funny, stubborn old men. This afternoon we had a theater class with Siobhan. Although I only had one line, it was my first time to act on the stage. It was really interesting.


Jeff: On the morning of Saturday, we went to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. It was wonderful. We saw some wonderful paintings, even by the Van Gogh. You know our Chinese students are not used to appreciating European arts, so it was so new for me, I loved it so much. The museum is so huge that contains a lot of works of arts. From Europe to native America, from Africa to Asian. I even saw some work from China! Like the stone engraved titled “Lantengxu”, which is a poem by a famous calligrapher. But what amazed me was the whole house from China, it was saved so well that it let me think I was in Qing dynasty! I loved the museum so much. If I had time, I would go there again, calm down and see these excellent work of arts.


Lily: The houses in China prefer to be higher and shining, while in the Twin Cities, there are also many tall buildings, but that high compare to China. They are about 15 to 20 flours high but with colorful painting on the outside and romantic domed roofs on the top. I think the most attractive one was the side of the store building painted with collection of tunes, charming black and white notes gathering together to play the graceful music to the city.

On Saturday afternoon, we went to the Art Museum in Minneapolis. It has so many exciting works of arts in that museum from different countries; porcelains from China, oil paintings from European artists; sculptures from Italy and huge different works from the whole world. There are also a lot kinds of works that I can’t see from China museum even it is from China, such as some porcelain with sexual theme. These are forbidden in China.

Also, we saw a play in Jungle Theater called “Noises off”, it is a ridiculous British comedy which tells a story about an unknown troupe rehearsal for their show. But everyone in the show is all on their own thought on how to play the show. Though my English is not good enough to understand the conversation between the actors, it made everyone laugh. I think Chinese won’t do this kind of show, because one women always in her underwear and do something Chinese may called “Fengsao” which means coquettish. Chinese show may be more positive and educational.

(to be continued)


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