"In China, it takes two banquets to finish any business," said international art consultant Lee Kimche McGrath. "This dinner was our return for the fetes the Chinese gave us."
The business at hand is a four-city tour of China by 50 paintings from the Brooklyn Museum, set to begin this fall. And among the guests last week at the Cosmos Club toasting the exhibition were the three people who coordinated it: McGrath, Linda Ferber, acting director of the Brooklyn Museum; and Michael Botwinick, now head of the Corcoran, who was Ferber's predecessor at the Brooklyn.
Other guests were three Chinese officials in Washington at the invitation of the U.S. government, to see which examples of American art they would like to have sent to China in future shows, and to study American exhibit techniques.
"Town and Country: Images of Urban and Rural Life in America," 50 realistic oil paintings from the Brooklyn Museum, curated by Ferber, will to go Peking, Shanghai, Shenyang and Canton. Ferber, Botwinick, and McGrath recently went to China to select the exhibition sites and consult with Chinese officials on the content of the show.
"Not many Chinese people understand abstract art," said Youming Chang. He is an artist and a professor at the Central Academy of Fine Art in Peking. "Norman Rockwell will be very popular."
"The Tattoo Arts" by Norman Rockwell is the star of the exhibit. This is the fourth American art show to travel to China since a 1979 agreement that allows shows to be exchanged between the two countries every two years.