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HAPPY LUNAR NEW YEAR OF THE MONKEY!

Goodbye Goat, hello Monkey! That’s right, the year of the Monkey has crept up on us like some weird old uncle at a family event, but hey, we’re totally cool with that! We really should give it up to the Goat though, what an incredible year! 2015 overflowed with new artworks, stunning exhibitions, exotically located art fairs, new friends, and exciting new designer-club-drugs… However you decided to spend your Goat year, we hope it was as fun as ours and more importantly that it had at least a little bit of Liu Dao in it. Maybe we saw you at one of our opening parties at the Bund or M50, perhaps you visited the gallery on a rainy day to catch us toiling away inside our workshop. There’s a chance you met us abroad in South Beach, Barcelona, or Hong Kong. Hey who knows - maybe you spent your year stalking us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. One thing you may have missed amid all the champagne and neon lights… we’re about to turn 10! And, like any respectable 10 year old, we want to have an outlandishly lavish birthday party with all of our friends in attendance! And cake. For more on that and many many other things Liu Dao, here for your reading pleasure is our year-in-retrospect(ish) island6 newsletter.



 
island6 workshop
Coming attractions…
Before we reminisce about days gone by, let’s talk about the early 2016 forecast. I’m not talking about the weather (we are in Shanghai so it's a pretty safe bet that’s going to be total shit). No, we are talking of course about events, and in that department island6’s 10th birthday is first on the list! The Liu Dao collective was founded in April of 2006 which makes this spring a full ten years of LEDs, paintings and of course plenty of exhibition openings that went a little too late into the night. What better way to celebrate than to hold a ten-year anniversary exhibition? Simply named “Ten,” we’ll be mixing new artworks with a few of our old favorites. The show is set for April 22nd, and we hope to see you there (with a birthday present of course).
Two shows were scheduled but, to be honest, hell, we just got too damn busy! Cut us some slack ok!? First up, “Wallism,” a visual contemplation of the more recent street-art movement in the fine art world, has been pushed back to June 17th. Second, “Waiting for the Wild Forest,” an examination of the inevitable return to nature that all man-made things will someday make, has been pushed back to July 29th. But before any of the birthday parties, graffiti shows or anything China related, we’ll be making a stop in New York.
Yes that’s right, the rumors are true: we’re ordering up a double dose of SCOPE. Fresh off the heels of a wildly successful Miami trip (more on that in a minute) Liu Dao will be making an encore SCOPE appearance at SCOPE New York on March 3-6. If you’ll be in town during that time be sure to let us know - we always love to see familiar faces. The show is located on 46th street, one block away from the Armory Show (and of course coinciding with it).
Since the Liu Dao collective is about to turn 10, we figured why not act like it! On the evening of May 20th we’ll wade into some uncharted Sci-Fi territory. “Machine Dreams” will present works that depict the ever-shrinking gap between man and machine. Expect some stunning works that might make your job obsolete and give you carpel tunnel! This will be the first show curated by Jackson Mchugh (more on him later), and it is shaping up to be one you won’t want to miss!



2015 - how was your Goat year though?
Apparently we aren’t the only ones who think we had a stellar year: City Weekend Shanghai nominated us for “Best Art Gallery” for their 2015 City Weekend Reader’s Choice awards. And wouldn’t you know it, thanks to the countless fans of ours who voted on the City Weekend website, we won! The award is currently hanging proudly on our front gallery wall. Thank you once more to everyone who voted or helped make our shows amazing! And speaking of amazing shows…
We may have had fewer exhibitions in 2015 than some other years, but don’t be fooled by the numbers - the quality of Liu Dao artworks and exhibitions was higher than it’s ever been. The year kicked off with “No Boat, No Brio,” which sailed into our Phuket gallery on January 10th. This show explored man’s curious and often sordid relationship with the vast expanse of the open sea. What better way to appreciate that than at the luxurious Royal Phuket Marina!
From the sandy shores of Thailand we headed back to our Main Space just in time to open the doors for “On Doing Laundry” on the evening of January 31st. The show’s theme was the many ways we absolve guilt (or stubbornly learn to live with it). Some of our guests were even kind (or drunk) enough to give up some juicy confessions on camera for our exhibition opening video.
We are many things here at island6 but one thing we are not: cold weather lovers. And so it was with childish and decidedly shit-eating grins that we scheduled another exhibition at our Phuket gallery on February 19th to coincide with the Chinese New Year. “Under the Glow of the Red Lanterns” was a fabulous (and, more importantly, warm) way to usher in the year of the goat.
 
Our island6 Hong Kong had quite the 2015 as well. Things all got started at the March 10th opening of “Babble Jabber.” This vernissage had some incredible French wines courtesy of our sponsor Catangi Wine. There was also Spanish cuisine from Fiesta Ltd, as well as a some mind-bending music produced for the show by former island6 sound director David Poppell. You don’t have to take our word for it though: as usual, there’s video evidence.
The theme of “Babble Jabber” was losing your mind, and we must admit we came close several times during the month of March. That is in large part because the show was followed closely by Art Central Hong Kong March 14th through the 16th. This brand-new art fair debuted with a strong focus on emerging talents and established contemporary galleries. Liu Dao was represented by our friends from New Zealand based Bath Street Gallery. We were also honored to be invited to participate in a panel discussion as part of the Talks Program put on by the fair and hosted by Isaac Leung. Our very own Thomas Charvériat and Ryan Nimmo sat alongside artists Kingsley Ng and Yang Yeung to discuss “new media art” and what that concept meant to them and their work. It turned out to be a thought provoking discussion about the marriage of technology and art (a subject we’re quite familiar with). I’m sure this is starting to sound like a broken record, but hey, guess what! YOU CAN WATCH IT ON VIDEO!
As if two big events in the same week weren’t enough, we went full steam ahead on March 15th at 3:00pm. Why do we remember that specific time? Because that’s when things kicked off at the Asia+/First Open sale at the Hong Kong office of the illustrious Christie’s auction house. Two Liu Dao pieces were involved in the affair “Chinese Laundry” and “Blurry Blue with You” alongside works by Andy Warhol, Anish Kapoor, Yoshitomo Nara, Damien Hirst, and Roy Lichtenstein. Both successfully sold after a flurry of bids, and yes, the cameras were rolling for the whole shebang. Feel free to browse the catalogue of over 130 incredible works (and be sure to pay special attention to yours truly, numbers 109 and 111).



Back to our hometown stomping grounds, “Broken Bones & Bruises” shattered all expectations at our island6 ShGarden on the evening of April 4th. City Weekend even thought it was cool enough to pick it as one of the “5 best” shows to see in the city for the month of April. The opening took place as part of the Brew & Blend Coffee and Lifestyle Festival launched by Undefine gallery in M50. The event lasted all weekend long and ushered in thousands of people to enjoy the warm weather and incredible cuisine. The celebration focused on Shanghai’s unique and exploding coffee culture while exposing visitors to the latest trends in art, visual culture, music, and beyond.
Moving things right along, April 17th island6 Hong Kong got gay - really gay - as we hosted a fabulously over-the-top send-off party for Mr. Gay Hong Kong who left to embark on a journey to Capetown, South Africa to compete in the Mr. Gay world competition, which, as a result no doubt of our global reach and influence, he actually won! The event also showcased some truly eye-catching threads. There were dazzling, intricately designed costumes by Andrew Cheung of Hong Kong Academy of the Performing Arts, some seriously dapper Formal Wear designed by Luciano and hand-crafted by Hong Kong’s legendary Sam’s Tailor, and some classy Casual Wear by Harrison Wong.
One of the more academically researched shows of the year was up next: “Between Red Queens” opened to a packed Bund gallery on Friday, May 8th. The wheels were heavily greased with wines provided by our lovely Chilean sponsor 17°56°. The Liu Dao collective took a tongue-in-cheek look at the quiet forces of evolution along with how and why the competition shapes us and our environment. The Global Times even thought it was interesting enough to do a full-page story about it featuring an interview with Curator Ryan Nimmo. Don’t take their word for it though (or ours for that matter) - you can see everything with your own eyeballs by watching the video re-cap of the event.
Fans of cars, sex and art got their fix of maybe all three at “Mercedes with Benefits” which opened on Saturday, May 23rd. It was an invite-only vernissage sponsored by the incredible wines of Le Sommelier. Thankfully no one drank and drove that night, but they may have drunk and bought some artworks… As usual, there is some scattered video evidence set to dramatic music available for all you voyeur types.
The exhibition “Guts” opened to a larger-than-expected crowd on Tuesday, June 9th in our Hong Kong space. This exhibition examined what it means to have “guts” in a fast-paced digital world. There were plenty of fast-paced digital artworks and well-dressed wine-lovers in attendance who got all they could’ve hoped for from us and our sponsor, Corks wine. The show ran until August, and, if you didn’t get a chance to visit, you can have a look-see at our video documentation of the opening. There isn’t any wine left from the event, otherwise we’d slip you a bottle because, you know, we think you’re cute.
This June island6 braved the long muddy back roads of Thailand, driving from Phuket to attend a charity auction in Bangkok. We donated an artwork to Thailand Red Cross Society, which held an event at a celeb-studded gala dinner inside the Anantara Siam Hotel. Even the Princess of Thailand was in attendance (not to brag but she’s a big fan). “Gold Dust and Dirt Roads” was auctioned off for a hefty sum. As much as we were tempted to take the profits to the casino where we could have easily tripled or quadrupled them, the proceeds all went to charity.
Up next was the critically acclaimed “Scribbles,” which took place at our waterside Bund gallery on Thursday, July 9th. This exhibition took much of its inspiration from Rorschach inkblots and abstract art, presenting (arguably) Liu Dao’s most abstract collection of work to date. Coincidentally, our wine sponsor for the opening evening’s debauchery, Summergate Wines, served one of their fabulous red wines known as the “Scribbler”. It was an invite-only, dress-to-impress affair, and, if you didn’t happen to make the event, it was, well, probably because you weren’t invited. But hey, you can always live vicariously through our guests and our camera by watching the video documentation.
Liu Dao found themselves in one of Shanghai’s most iconic buildings during the steamy summer months - the China Art Museum to be more specific. The collective was recently given an opportunity to strut its stuff at this former China pavilion from the 2010 expo. The Shanghai International Science & Art Exhibition 2015 (SISAE) took place from August 12th to the 21st and featured such irreverent works as “The Observer Effect,” and “Out to Sea on a Swing-Tree.” The guest list was a veritable who’s who of Shanghai, with VIP members such as the Vice Chairman of the China Association of Science and Technology, Shang Yong, Ying Yong, the Deputy Secretary of Shanghai, and Zhou Bo, the Deputy Mayor of Shanghai. As you can imagine, plenty of local and international media outlets covered the affair so you’re more than welcome to see some video and photo recaps of the event if you were unable to make it.



The summer of 2015 was a hot one for more reasons than just the bubbling Shanghai mercury and our STD test results. Our Main space was lively as ever for “Post No Bills” on August 14th. Incredible show sponsor Vedett made sure that things stayed lively with plenty of tall amazing draft beers. The only bills that got posted were for sold artworks and the cleaning ladies, but don’t trust me: here’s another video re-cap!
In another charity event, on September 5th, the Liu Dao collective proudly took part in Art International Istanbul 2015, held at the Halic Congress Center. “I am a Hustler Baby” and “Flitting Genies” were displayed via our friends at Opera Gallery (Dubai) and in conjunction with START, a wonderful non-profit organization that helps refugee children around the world. The Liu Dao collective is happy to announce that these works together fetched almost 100k USD that START will be able to use to further the cause of child rights throughout the globe. If we end up in purgatory someday, we’ll at least have this stuff going for us!
The black and white themed opening of “Noir Blanc” in our Main space was anything but colorless during its starkly elegant vernissage on the evening of September 24th. On display was a new series of artworks that explored the bold look of black and white photography (splashed with colorful LED of course). Delectable draft beers from our sponsor Duvel ensured it was just about as colorful as it gets, and some of our guests contributed to the night’s theme by trying to drink themselves into a full fledged hooker-abusing black-out. See all the action (except for that last part) in our video recap.
Always looking for ways to branch out and meet new fans, partners, and interesting people, Liu Dao participated in this year’s Shanghai Design Week 2015, held at the Shanghai Exhibition Center from September 25th to the 27th. This is an annual meeting place where some of the top design and art industry professionals come together. Two Liu Dao artworks were there and fit right in with all the taste-making, trend-setting action: “Old Homes After It’s All Said and Done” and “Waiting, Wondering, Wishing.”
As things were heating up in Shanghai, our friends at Pantocrator Gallery were spreading some of that heat around in the 2015 Swab Barcelona International Contemporary Art Fair. “Weapon of Choice,” “Then we Went Backwards,” and “Man Eater” (along with several others) wowed crowds and made believers out of infidels. The event was held from October 1st to the 4th at the scenic Italian Pavillion.
Next up to bat, on Thursday, October 15th Liu Dao filled our intimate Garden space with an incredible batch of new works inspired by Shanghai living. “Shanghai Drift” was an artistic mishmash of vignettes and ruminations on life in China’s most populated and intriguing city. Of course, everything is more intriguing when you have a glass or two of red, and there was plenty of that at the venue courtesy of Pudao Wines. Guests contributed to the theme by seeing how many people we could fit together in a small space. As usual though, you don’t have to take our word for it: have a look for yourself!
Speaking of packed-houses, for a long time we wondered what the capacity of our main space was, and on the evening of November 14th we think we found out. Chi Fan for Charity held its annual Charity dinner after-party at our space. With a backdrop of flickering Liu Dao LED lights, over 500 guests gathered to bid on auctioned packages provided courtesy of numerous local businesses and restaurants. 100% of the proceeds went to three charitable organizations, and, although our gallery stunk of tequila and wine for three days afterwards, we were thrilled to be a part of it. If you want to donate or participate in one of next year’s events, visit their website. The dinners and wildly spectacular after parties are held annually in Beijing, Hong Kong, and Shanghai.
With bathing suits packed, sunscreen applied, and that Will Smith song added to our ipods, the Liu Dao took their talents to south beach for SCOPE Miami. The heavily attended (50,000+ people) show ran as part of Miami art week during December 1st to the 6th. Guests saw our work alongside over one hundred other international galleries (and between you and me they liked ours the best). There were even quite a few celebrities who attended: Swizz Beatz, Rosario Dawson, Mack Wilds, Lil' Dicky, Amar’e Stoudemire, Fabolous, Jesse Williams, Dwayne Wade, French Montana, Young Guru, Estelle, and Burger King's CEO, Daniel Schwartz, all stopped by to see what all the fuss was about. We didn’t get any free cheeseburgers, but we made a whole lot of new fans and clients! Don’t blindly take my word on it though, as seeing is believing and we always encourage that!



One last thing…
As always there are some new team members to tell you about. Jackson McHugh is our new writer, and goddammit does he have a writer’s name or what? Leven Smith has been making some groovy tunes for our openings and video clips, as well as smashing hammers and convincing girls to make orgasm sounds for some of our interactive sound artworks. We don’t know what his technique was, but you’re free to email him to inquire. You can hear all of these noises and some other future Grammy winners on our Soundcloud and Bandcamp pages, as well as on each exhibition’s credits page.
Of course there’s more than one way to skin a cat (and just to be clear, by that I mean: follow us on social media sites). Our Instagram always has new shots of works-in-progress – slap on a #island6 and share with the world. You can always peruse our profiles on Flickr, YouTube, and Vimeo to see Liu Dao’s newest creations flickering across your screen. Explore a curation of the wild, weird, and whimsical world behind island6 on our Tumblr, and share the Liu Dao love by pinning from our eclectic Pinterest boards. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, friend us on Facebook, and connect with us on LinkedIn. To delve further into the collective mind behind island6, scroll through our blog, where we ruminate on art, Shanghai, and all subjects in between.
We always love to meet with visitors, fans, and even haters. Stop by one of our Shanghai galleries anytime, be it our intimate ShGarden or our glorious sprawling main space. If you’re in Thailand, you can swing by our Phuket gallery – you can even bring your ladyboy friend and we won’t tell anyone about it. Thanks for reading about all of our escapades, and hopefully we’ll catch you soon in person! Much love from all of us and Happy New Year!

xoxo

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