Cai Guo-Qiang: Odyssey.pdf
Christine Starkman is curator of Asian art, ancient to contemporary, at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Cai Guo-Qiang is a world-renowned contemporary artist. Susan Stewart is a poet and critic, and is currently Annan Professor of English at Princeton University.
This commemorative book traces the creation of "Odyssey", a monumental work by internationally acclaimed artist Cai Guo-Qiang (b. 1957). Best known for his innovative "explosion projects", Cai arranged, then ignited gunpowder to produce a massive Chinese-style landscape across forty-two wood panels. These panels are now installed floor-to-ceiling along the walls of the Ting Tsung and Wei Fong Chao Arts of China Gallery at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. The museum commissioned this work as part of its larger Portal Project initiative, which taps leading contemporary artists to create site-specific installations for its Asian art galleries. "Odyssey" offers a fresh way for viewers to encounter ancient and contemporary Chinese art. Cai produced "Odyssey" with the help of more than one hundred volunteers over five days in October 2010. Photographs documenting the process demonstrate Cai's working methods and the level of community involvement. Accompanying essays analyze "Odyssey" as a singular work of art, as a portal to the gallery and its other artworks, and as a collaboration of the artist, museum, and communities in Houston.