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Beautiful Ladies Opens in San Francisco

By Michael Curtis

Photo courtesy of Frank Jang

SAN FRANCISCO - Nostalgia for Shanghai’s glamour period of the 1920’s to 1940’s flooded the main gallery of the Chinese Culture Center the evening of Friday, January 30, 2004. With the enticing stares of the painted ladies upon them, members of the CCC and other invited guests to the reception for the opening of Beautiful Ladies: Vintage Shanghai Deco Posters perused the paintings that idealized the culture of China’s first modern city of the twentieth century. Guests marveled at the artistry and romanticism of what were once intended to be advertisements and are now relics of modern Chinese history.

Acting curator Wylie Wong has fashioned a spectacular show from the collections of Baoguzhai, Albert Cheng, Julia Chen, Gregory Chew, Dr. June Chun, Patsey Lee Donegan, Russell K. Leong, Sally Yu Leung, Dr. Mark Adams, Carol Potter Peckham, James H. Soong, Phil Toy, Leland Wong, Vivian and Tony Zaloom, and Tao Zeng. The images of beauty lining the gallery walls tell the story of a desire for the high life, often a far-fetched ideal for many local Chinese, during a time of social and political tumult. The paintings are, therefore, not only gorgeous, but also equally poignant.

To compliment the exhibition, the CCC will present two programs in the coming months that will explore the various aspects of life in Shanghaiduring the 1930's and 1940's. On May 8th, the CCC will host "A Night in Old Shanghai," featuring a screening of the modern classic film, Centre Stage, based on the life and death of the era's most famous actress Ruan Ling Yu. Following the film will be a reception featuring a Remy Martin tasting and Shanghai cuisine. Then, on June 2nd, the CCC is proud to present a joint reception/program with the American Jewish Committee entitled "Jewish and Chinese Bonds in Early Shanghai." Flying in from Shanghai to speak at the event is one the world's leading scholars on the subject, Professor Pan Guang, Dean of the Shanghai Center of Jewish Studies. Beautiful Ladies ison display until June 5, 2004.