Welcome Messages 2012

From Asia Society

Asia Society has had a long engagement with China. This began with the establishment of our China Council in 1975 and has continued with museum exhibitions and programs, as well as the establishment of our Center on US-China Relations in 2007. One of our most recent efforts, the US-China Forum on the Arts and Culture, brings together leading cultural figures for collaboration and dialogue. The second act of the Forum to take place November 15-17, 2012 in Beijing will bring together leading figures from the museums and music. The US-China Forum on the Arts and Culture is a Sino-US exchange that the Asia Society’s Center on US-China Relations began in 2010 with the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries and in close collaboration with the US Embassy in Beijing and the US Department of State in Washington. The on-going events of the Forum were started in order to help bridge the cultural divide between our two countries through open dialogue between accomplished American and Chinese cultural figures.

Last year, the Forum brought an unusual group of American cultural icons from the worlds of film, music, dance, the arts, literature, and non-fiction to Beijing for four days of panel discussions, screenings, receptions, concerts, and dinners to not only showcase the best in American culture, but also to promote new and innovative ways for American and Chinese artists to interact and collaborate.

This year, the Asia Society has developed a somewhat different approach. First, we are bringing fifteen prominent American museum directors to Beijing to meet with their Chinese counterparts for discussions on how to make museums more vibrant centers of public cultural life while at the same time engendering more meaningful cross-cultural exchanges and joint exhibits. We will also publish a framework for follow-up.

Another element of this November’s Forum is a musical concert. We will hold a second Musical Dialogue performance, a collaboration between guest artists and members of the San Francisco Symphony, including its musical director Michael Tilson Thomas, this time at the Central Conservatory of Music. The concert will feature Tilson Thomas playing four-hand piano with the renowned Chinese pianist Wang Yuja, a poetry reading by Amy Tan accompanied by Tilson Thomas, and many other collaborations between a wide variety of talented Chinese and American musicians and artists.

The Asia Society has undertaken the US-China Forum on the Arts and Culture in the belief that at this critical moment in this most important of international relationships, both Americans and Chinese urgently need to find new ways to enjoy themselves and relax in more collaborative efforts, even as our two governments do what governments must do, namely work to resolve the host of intractable bilateral issues that have long bedeviled their relations.

We hope that this week’s events will continue to serve as a bridge of partnership between the US and China and that these kinds of constructive interactions will not only grow, but will have some salutary effect on the overall effort of our two countries to work more effectively together in a world where the price of failing to do so is becoming ever higher.

Arthur Ross Director
Center on US-China Relations
Asia Society, New York City

Museum Director and Senior Vice President
Global Arts and Cultural Programs
Asia Society, New York City


This post is also available in: Chinese (Simplified)