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Art review: Vivid cross-cultural conversations at Guggenheim's South and South-east Asia show

Published on Jun 23, 2014 3:55 PM

There are things a visitor to the exhibition, No Country: Contemporary Art For South And South-east Asia, could easily get his knickers in a twist about.

The compact travelling show from the Guggenheim Museum in New York premiered last year and made a stop in Hong Kong before opening here in May at the Centre for Contemporary Art, with 19 works by 16 critically acclaimed artists and collectives.

The ambition of a famed Western art institution to be a voice on art from this hemisphere, when it was heretofore oblivious to the scene - its collection of more than 6,800 works of art included only 12 pieces from South and South-east Asia - might rub a viewer the wrong way.

The museum's about-turn followed an injection of funds from Swiss bank UBS in 2012 to purchase art from non-Western regions, including Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa, which overlap with the bank's business interests. A total of 36 pieces were acquired under the South and South-east Asia category.

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