Asia Society’s Latest Exhibition Parallels Houston’s Growth with Urban Asia

Asia Society’s Latest Exhibition Parallels Houston’s Growth with Urban Asia

Kirk Pedersen, Nissin Central District, Hong Kong, 2009, Inkjet print, Courtesy of the artist.

Houston, Texas, June 25, 2014 — Asia Society Texas Center is pleased to present a new exhibition titled Urban Asia: Kirk Pedersen, on view in the Fayez Sarofim Grand Hall from June 27, 2014 through January 4, 2015. Taken during contemporary artist Kirk Pedersen’s visits to many Asian countries including China, Taiwan, Japan, and Vietnam, the urban photographs that make up the exhibition highlight the charged relationship between resident and city, as well as a city’s ceaseless evolution.

Houstonians will be able to relate to Asia’s transition to a global epicenter as they draw similar comparisons to the rapid construction and growth in their own city over the past few decades. “The challenge of balancing growth and history remains paramount on both sides of the Pacific," says Bridget Bray, Director of Exhibitions at Asia Society Texas Center. “As the city of Houston experiences unprecedented growth and grapples with many of the same issues as cities in Asia, we can look to Kirk Pedersen’s works as both a guide and a mirror. These photographs capture the visual densities of urban life while providing a respite from its daily concerns. We’re so pleased to be able to share them with our visitors.”

Born in 1959 in Broken Bow, Nebraska, Pedersen moves through major Asian cities, looking at the urban landscape with a unique perspective. What he captures is a scene that is vibrant, alive, and heavily commercialized, but often overlooked by an audience that is too busy and passive to notice its beauty. His photographs champion the seemingly ordinary—sidewalks, abandoned buildings, small markets, hidden alleyways, and walls left for demolition. The transient nature of structures once assumed to be permanent prompts viewers to think about the constantly changing world in which they themselves live.

Having been trained as a painter, Kirk Pedersen draws from the Abstract Expressionist, Pop, Minimalist, and Photorealist movements of the 20th century to create his works. The use of photography, however, allows him to “paint” a different kind of scene that is timely and constantly developing.

Lead exhibition support is provided by the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance, Nancy C. Allen, The Clayton Fund, Nancy and Robert J. Carney, Chinhui Juhn and Eddie Allen, Anne and Albert Chao, The Favrot Fund, Dorothy Carsey Sumner, and the Vivian L. Smith Foundation; additional funding from Isla and Thomas R. Reckling III, and Friends of Exhibitions at Asia Society Texas Center. Admission to the building and this exhibition is free and open to the public during regular business hours, Tuesday through Sunday, 11 am – 6 pm. For more information, please visit AsiaSociety.org/Texas.

About Kirk Pedersen

Kirk Pedersen received his M.A. from San Francisco State University and his M.F.A. in painting from Claremont Graduate University. He has exhibited extensively at major galleries, art fairs, and museums throughout the United States. Internationally, Pedersen’s works have been featured in Germany, Switzerland, and China, including the Today Art Museum, Beijing and the Shanghai Duolun Museum of Modern Art. Pedersen has also taught at the Shanghai Institute of Visual Art, Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, Luxun Academy of Fine Arts, and Dalian Polytechnic University. Since 1997, he has served as Professor of Painting and Drawing at the Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, California.

About Asia Society Texas Center

Asia Society Texas Center is part of a leading global educational organization that promotes mutual understanding and strengthens partnerships among peoples, leaders, and institutions of Asia and the United States. Across the fields of arts, business, culture, education, and policy, Asia Society Texas Center provides insight, generates ideas, and promotes collaboration to connect Americans and Asians for a shared future. Asia Society Texas Center officially opened its headquarters, which was designed by famed Japanese architect Yoshio Taniguchi, in April 2012.

June 25, 2014
by Anna Foret