We Do Not Dream Alone: Part I
Asia Society Triennial
The inaugural Asia Society Triennial at the Asia Society Museum is a behemoth of a show that includes a roster of visual art, theater, dance, music, and film events across several partner institutions, a suite of commissioned works, as well as a forthcoming publication.
The title, "We Do Not Dream Alone," nods to a line in Yoko Ono's 1964 book Grapefruit: "A dream two people dream together is a reality." In this, it's both a challenge to rising tribalism and an appeal for mutual understanding. One of the first works presented to viewers as they navigate the exhibition is Lao Tongli's The Desire of the Libido No. 5 (2017-19), which interlocks the individual, historical, environmental, and global. Here, the interlinked branches of a dense canopy recall a web of blood vessels, a poignant evocation of the death of Lao's father to heart disease in the vernacular of Chinese Northern Song landscapes.
Meanwhile, the New-York Historical Society iteration of the exhibition, dubbed "Dreaming Together," juxtaposes objects from its own United States-centered collection with others loaned by the Asia Society Museum. The result tells a contrapuntal history grouped around four themes: “people,” “protest, “city,” and “nature.” Highlights include works by Martin Wong, Betye Saar, and material from the Black Lives Matter movement.
Lao Tongli, The Desire of Libido No. 5, 2017-2019. Ink and mineral colors on silk. Three panels, each: 96 1/2 x 54 3/4 inches; overall: 96 1/2 x 164 3/16 inches. Courtesy of the artist. Photograph courtesy of the artist.
This work was commissioned by Asia Society Museum, New York, for the inaugural Asia Society Triennial: We Do Not Dream Alone.