Party of The Year: Review of The Wild East Show @ The Beat Studio, Taipei

'East Meets Mae West', signature piece by artist Trista di Genova
Review Of The Wild East Art Show
Staff Reporter,

This review focuses on the WiLd EaSt Art Opening, Jan. 19th, although the exhibition runs for 3 weeks, by appointment: (02) 2765-9470

The Wild East Art Show aimed to be “An Avantro-spective of the year to come,” a collective of expat and Taiwanese artists, many of whom will likely be showing their own works at the Beat Studio Taipei in future.

In leafy Songshan District, east Taipei, overlooking Minchuan Park, it’s a great location. Press the buzzer marked “BEAT” and you may enter. After climbing four brisk flights of stairs, a two-storey flat turns into an art gallery founded by two artists, Briton Timothy Nathan Joel and Canadian Daniel Desjardins.

Jan. 19th, 8 p.m.: The foyet is a little busy already, but it is still possible at this point to discuss the works with creators at hand, such as the main featured artist Trista di Genova, who’s described in her bio as “first a Connecticut Yankee, a Berkeley political science junkie, then Eurotrash for 5 years; and currently an American refugee.”

Di Genova’s a China Post writer, an accomplished academic – having “read” at Oxford University, in Women’s Studies, an influence seen in work such as “Two Fat Blond Lesbians,” based on an image taken from the mingpian (business card) of her shufa (calligraphy) instructor.

“That’d look good on the wall of a straight man’s bedroom,” said one observer.

Miss di Genova’s work is most often described as “Picasso-like,” especially pieces done with a technique she founded, in the “Doing Lines” series, with Taiwaneses Joanne Chu and Wu Bai, cross-cultural gems such as “Buddhafish,” “Asian Dragon,” and “Miss Behavin’.”

“There’s this game I invented with Joanne (Chu) and Wu Bai, where each person draws one line and then passes on the maobi (brushpen),” she says.

The show’s signature piece, “Ëast Meets Mae West” was “Dali-inspired, functional art,” as Trista describes it. Toward the end of the evening, a rack was produced, sticky-backed hooks, Guernsey-patterned sunglasses and a red cowboy hat. Scottish beauty and cellist player Chris MacFarquhar, helped complete the painting: A rack (at breast-level) was affixed to the painting and became a place where you can hang your hats; a hook provided a storage spot for sunglasses.”

At The Wild East Show, there was so much, perhaps too much going on.
Wu Bai remarked, “It’s so crowded here because everyone wants to see me.”
There was definitely NO lack of The Action at this Gig — in-house portrait sketchers, jewelry briskly sold apparently by Sylvia Rehorst; two expat bands who played short but reportedly great sets – Angel (Cvetkov) and The Macedonian Music Band; and THC with Zach Touzin and Elliot Tsai (The Shaman). And after the balcony finally cleared of animated, socializing, mostly young people, there was a magical treat — firedancing at midnight. Beat Studio founders and artists Tim and Daniel were stuck behind the bar most of the evening — a bit of a waste.

“We wanted wall-to-wall art,” said Signorina Trista di Genova, “änd we got that. It was too crowded to buy art! Good thing you can make an appointment to come back.”

One of the most painful observations was “Ï felt sorry for the organizers because many of the people there were just like me, not much different from all the people I’ve seen across the bar over the years in Taiwan on any given Friday or Saturday night.”

The outreach and materials should have been in Chinese and directed at the Chinese, the observer suggested. Otherwise, she said, there were so many ‘laowai’ (foreigners) with their hangers-on women, or vice versa, literally: Asians with their white hangers-on!

886 Magazine editor Bernard Pol suggested having two separate “Wild East” events; one that’s more social, and one just for art buyers.

It was previewed as The Party Of The Year, and turned out to be just that — more crowded and crowded as the night went on, with 300 + people and no one going home – or buying art, but some enthusiastic reviews, “Amazing,” “Stunning,” and so on. David Cornberg sold a blue piece,

By 10 p.m., the party as it is now, has run out of liquor. The sommeliers – Joel and Desjardins, have also run out of food; Tim has gone to buy more alcohol, and drinks – down to rum and coke/ screwdrivers –100NT apiece.

“The atmosphere – sorry, but it was house party,” said one visitor afterwards.

“Ï expected people to start getting sick and passing out on the floors. It would have been better to attract professionals and businesspeople, people who have maybe been at their company for a year or two, and need something to put on their walls that shows the prestige of where they buy it. Or families.”
The media exposure was excellent for the “Wild East” show; The China Post, 886 Magazine published a four-page spread of the show, and promoted it as an 886 launch party.

“The party was an enormous success, more than the art show, at least so far. Perhaps (sponsor and entrepreneur) Ross (Kenneger) could help in a lot of ways if (the event) were better directed, with an emcee,” one Canadian observer suggested.

Kenneger was “blown away” with the show’s success, and extremely pleased with the massive turnout, although next time he said he “plans to make back his investment.”

“It was a HUGE success; we have to think of how to capitalize on that success. Ï haven’t even started bringing my contacts into this yet. We’ll do it again in a couple months,” he promised.

The art, too, was described not just as “Ämazing, stunning” but “really the best” seen in Taipei, according to some long-time Taiwan foreign residents at the show, such as Gary O’Çonnor, who said he was interested in having diG’s Yellow Submarine piece hanging in his son’s bedroom, an illustration from her short story, “The Day The Blue Meanie Forgot To Pay The Electric Bill.”

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