Walking along the old cobblestone and coral of Altos de Chavón is an extremely inspiring environment. Birds singing, art students going to and from classes, tours admiring the immaculate stone work of the village, trees swaying in the breeze… who wouldn’t love creating in a space like that? For the Davidoff artists, this working atmosphere is a reality for a few months time. The Davidoff Art Initiative is a spectacular program that brings talented artists from around the world to our community to express themselves, and share their beauty with us. One of those artists in residence is Christopher Ho.
Ho, born in Hong Kong, is an artist and curator living and working in New York City. He is known for his eclectic art form that encompasses conceptual painting, sculpture, photography, and writing and usually plays on American culture and identity politics.
Take, for example, his 2016 piece Three Critiques, which critiques concepts of postmodernism and also proposes alternatives. The first, critique of universalism. Universalism led to multiculturalism and eventually global capitalism. The second critique is of history and finally the third is the critique of genius. In his presentation and elaboration of these three critiques, Ho proposes a new rubric for art: deinstitutionalization, pragmatism, and responsible subject.
Ho’s 2017 Dear John is a look at first love, first heartbreak, and the politics of it all. Displayed at his high school alma mater, the Hotchkiss School, Dear John spread out across the gallery with a chromatic carpet made of cut out hearts. The use of digital space- lacking gravity or a reference point- symbolizes the experience of falling in, or even out of, love. The title references a break-up letter and the printed figurine engulfed by an iPhone is missing the gaze of a young man laser engraved in glass blocks. The question posed: can social media change what was previously personal to socially transformative?
Critic and art historian Owen Duffy writes, “Since the early 2000s, Christopher K. Ho has earned acclaim for his research-driven projects that investigate the power dynamics of the art world.… Conceptually charged, Ho’s work produces incisive critiques of the various institutions that canonize art while drawing on the themes of love, belief, and family. Ho seeks to elucidate the contradictions of the art world—as analogous to and constituent of the real world—while underscoring the importance of education, clarity, and personal growth.”
*Photographs taken from www.davidoffartinitiative.com and www.christopherkho.com