Art and Architecture exhibition opens in Shanghai

SHANGHAI, CHINA (July 23, 2010) The Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center welcomes “John Portman: Art & Architecture,” an exhibition featuring architectural projects and an exclusive collection of private furniture, paintings and sculpture by Atlanta-based architect and artist, John Portman, from July 20th through September 19th, 2010. This year marks the thirtieth anniversary of Portman’s business in China. In connection with this milestone celebration, Shanghai has been chosen as the first tour stop after the exhibition’s inauguration at Atlanta’s High Museum of Art in 2009.

The fifteen architectural projects that will be featured span five decades of international developments, including Portman’s pioneer project in China, Shanghai Centre (1990), which has been described as “one of the five architectural stars in mainland China.”

John Portman, founder of John Portman & Associates, has a long history of involvement in China’s architectural landscape. Portman was one of the first American architects invited to China by the former vice-premier Deng Xiaoping in 1979 when China opened its doors to the West. As a result of that trip, Portman was one of the earliest firms to enter China and subsequently changed the city’s skyline. In May this year, three Portman projects; Shanghai Centre, Tomorrow Square and Beijing Yintai Centre, were recognized by the Architectural Society of China as among the most creative designs of the last 50 years.

“I am honored to have my exhibit showcased at SUPEC,” said Mr. Portman. “I have much respect and gratitude for China, and I am proud to have worked in this country since 1980. Shanghai particularly means a great deal to me, since my first Chinese project, Shanghai Centre, is here. I truly hope the people of Shanghai enjoy the exhibit.”

“We are deeply honored to be hosting the Portman Art & Architecture exhibition and pay homage to a man who has had such a significant impact on shaping the face of modern Shanghai,” expressed Liu Bo, curator of Shanghai Urban Planning and Exhibition Center. “This exhibition will allow Shanghai’s residents and visitors to understand and appreciate the history behind John Portman’s invaluable contribution to this buzzing metropolis.”

Selecting Shanghai as the exhibition’s next location reaffirms Portman’s continuing commitment to China and the importance of Portman’s work in Asia. After a successful showing in Shanghai, The High Museum plans to bring the exhibition to Beijing and other destinations in Asia to further share the depth and breadth of Mr. Portman’s life and achievements beyond physical structures.

“John Portman: Art & Architecture” is organized by the High Museum of Art and accompanied by a full-color catalogue with a major essay by Paul Goldberger, noted historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic for “The New Yorker” since 1997. The catalogue is distributed by the University of Georgia Press.

“John Portman has not only radically altered the skyline of his home city, Atlanta, but cities throughout the world,” stated Jeffrey Grove, the exhibition curator. “His reconsideration of how architecture should function and the experience it should offer visitors completely changed the industry. Early in his career, Portman understood that to realize his vision completely, he must add ‘Developer’ to his role as Architect. All these themes will be addressed in the exhibition.”