Chinese contemporary artists have enjoyed a phenomenal popularity in recent years. Top museums like Met and MoMA collect their works; galleries are rushing to create exhibitions for them; some of their best works were sold for hundreds of millions dollars. If you take a close look at these artists’ resume, the chance is high that the artist was from Sichuan. Actually, those artists were called Sichuan School by critics because they all more or less associated with Sichuan Fine Art Institute. After its opening, Legend 72 has quickly become Chinese artists’ hang-out place in New York. Hot pot is a major attraction, so does the authentic Sichuan cuisine. The other night we saw a well-known artist come with his wife and friends. He was having a solo exhibition in Guggenheim. The exhibition lasted for a whole month, and hot pot was the best cure for his craving of home-town spicy food. Another artist brought everyone from his studio for late dinner after a documentary movie about him debuted in Sotheby’s. Apparently people worship him so much that the 10-person table had 16 person squeezed around it, and some fans had to wait outside. One performance artist, who was on Hugo Boss Prize shortlist, loves Chinese hard liquor (baijiu). He could finish half bottle of it and still talked about art history and philosophy with impressive details.
Everyone working in Legend 72 admires those artists, and feel connected with them, not just because we all came from Sichuan, but also we share the camaraderie of the same creative occupation. “Cooking is an art, but you eat it too.” In art we trust.