Although he was trained as a painter, Kirk Pedersen explores urban Asia through a camera lens, reconfiguring perceptions of the visual and spatial densities represented by the great cities there. His works show connections to the Abstract Expressionist and Minimalist movements of the 20th century, while capturing a distinct era in Asia’s transition to a global epicenter. Born in 1959 in Broken Bow, Nebraska, Pedersen moves through these Asian cities, composing intentional perspectives that highlight the charged relationship between resident and city, and the ongoing struggle to balance growth and history.
Admission to the exhibition is free and open to the public.
Tuesday – Sunday, 11:00 am – 6:00 pm
Closed Mondays and major holidays
Photography of the exhibition without flash is permitted.
Kirk Pedersen is a Los Angeles-based multidisciplinary artist whose work is at once expansive and detailed, revealing and poetic. Traveling to cities such as Hong Kong, Bangkok, Tokyo, Taipei, and Kuala Lumpur to capture what he calls “Urban Asia,” Pedersen examines the seemingly ordinary stuff of life—sidewalks, curbs, markets, alleys—and, through his eye for synchronicity, reveals new truths about the world around us.
Kirk Pedersen received his MA from San Francisco State University and his MFA 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. Since 1997, he has served as professor of painting and drawing at the Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA.
Asia Society’s Latest Exhibition Parallels Houston’s Growth with Urban Asia
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.
Urban Asia: Kirk Pedersen" Examines Urban Japan, Old and New Houston Press, December 8, 2014.
'Urban Asia': A Photographer's Lens Captures Cities in Constant Flux Asia Blog, June 27, 2014
'Urban Asia' Artist Captures Growth and History of Asian Cities Asia Blog, December 1, 2014
Asia Society Texas Center exhibitions are funded in part by a grant from the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance.
Exhibitions are made possible by additional funding through the Friends of Exhibitions patron group, which includes the following contributors:
Nancy C. Allen
Nancy and Robert J. Carney
The Clayton Fund
Chinhui Juhn and Eddie Allen
Anne and Albert Chao
The Favrot Fund
Houston Fine Art Fair | Hamptons Expo Group
Vivian L. Smith Foundation
Dorothy Carsey Sumner
Sushila and Durga Agrawal
George and Mary Josephine Hamman Foundation
Albert and Ethel Herzstein Charitable Foundation
Y. Vani Rao and Thulasidass Kalidas
Isla and Thomas R. Reckling III
Bebe Woolley and Dan Gorski
Shonali and Rakesh Agrawal
John Bradshaw, Jr.
Monjula and Ravi S. Chidambaram
Bonna Kol and James Clifford
Kathy and Glen Gondo
Rekha Lakshmanan and Huan Le
Y. Ping Sun and David W. Leebron
Judy and Scott Nyquist
Margarida and Penn Williamson
Karen and John Bradshaw, Sr.
William and Deborah Colton
Jackie and John Dickinson
Donna and Philip J. Dingle
Sissy and Denny Kempner
Leela and Nat Krishnamurthy
Sushila and Dr. Ninan Mathew
Leigh and Reggie Smith
Jenny and Steven L. Spancake
Martha Claire Tompkins
Ann G. Trammell
Nina and Michael Zilkha
Nana Booker AM and M. David Lowe
Diane and Michael Cannon
Clare Attwell Glassell
Harriet and Truett Latimer
Marion and Benjamin Wilcox
Clint T. Willour
Contributors as of June 30, 2014