Today we’d like to introduce you to Christina Hobbs.
Christina, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
The gallery owner was trained in the arts and has been a longtime supporter of Chinese artists, so he wanted to open a gallery that focuses specifically on contemporary Chinese art. His goal is to provide a space for younger Chinese artists that have exhibited extensively but have little exposure in the United States. The gallery is a great opportunity for our artists to show their work to new audiences and also an opportunity to introduce the public in the Pasadena and LA area to contemporary Chinese art. The gallery just had its grand opening on April 29th, so we’ve only been open for a short period of time and still have a lot of time to grow.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It took us quite a while to find a suitable location, and even so we’re considering expanding in the future. The whole process of getting the gallery up and running took about a year even after finding a good location, because we had to get the proper permits and we did a lot of work on the space. It’s been a slow process, but we’re finally open, and we have new exhibits scheduled for the next six months that we’re really excited about.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with The Marengo Gallery – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
The Marengo Gallery is the only gallery in the LA area that focuses specifically on contemporary Chinese art, so that sets us apart. We promote our artists through regular exhibitions, and we have events at the gallery to educate the public about contemporary Chinese art and to contextualize our artists within this larger framework. Contemporary Chinese art is an interesting field because it only started at the end of the Cultural Revolution, and it breaks significantly with Chinese art created before this time. Many contemporary Chinese artists are influenced by western artistic traditions, which is transgressive in itself because access to western art was denied during the Cultural Revolution. We’re extremely proud to be the only contemporary Chinese art gallery in the area, and we believe the artists we represent meaningfully engage with this new tradition.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I’ve been planning new exhibits for the gallery, and I’m looking forward to introducing the public to some of the major themes in which our artists are interested such as the effects of rapid urbanization, the political climate in China post-Cultural Revolution, and the changing Chinese landscape. In the future, we’d like to participate in LA Art Show and potentially have pop up locations in Downtown LA and Hollywood. We’re also hoping to have partnerships with other institutions such as the USC Pacific Asia Museum or the Chinese American Museum. Currently, we’re in the process of planning collaborations with local colleges in the area that have classes on contemporary Chinese art as part of our educational programming. Also, as I mentioned previously, it’s possible that in the future we will expand to a larger location, so we have many things that we are excited about.
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The Marengo Gallery