Thinking Makes It So: A taste for Chinese art

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By Kelly LeVan

Clutching a painting for several thousand miles, in tiny airplane aisles and through multiple crowded airports, creates an immaculate bond. I know this from personal, international experience.I don’t feel the same special tie with my backpack or the warped energy bars I transported home from China, even though we had made a round-trip together. However, great art surpasses even great food - I really like Lemon Zest Luna Bars - on my list of the three most important things in the world. I love it, and although I crossed the Pacific for other, not entirely aesthetic reasons, I had hoped all along to find the perfect, if faintly bourgeois, painted canvas to bring home from the People’s Republic.I found it my first full day in Shanghai. Michael and I, traipsing through side streets in the vicinity of our hotel, halted in front of a small art gallery, captivated at once by a painting of two gloriously mottled people.I should rephrase: I was captivated. Michael, whose list of the most important things in the world is less accurate than my own, caught me staring and said, “You’re weird.”We were tired, hungry and still shy about trying to speak our meek Mandarin, especially in Shanghai, where we quickly learned people speak another dialect.

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