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PEM’s FreePort Contemporary Art Initiative With Artist Michael Lin

For the fifth iteration of PEM’s FreePort contemporary art initiative, artist Michael Lin delves into the Museum’s renowned collection of Asian Export Art to spotlight the history of trade between China and the West. FreePort [No. 005]: Michael Lin is part display, part performance. Lin, working with a team of local and international artists, creates an installation of dramatic ornamental murals, photographs, prints, specially commissioned vases, and a large-scale presentation of hundreds of sculptural reproductions of Mr. Nobody. A key object in PEM’s Asian Export Collection, Mr. Nobody dates from 1690 and is one of the first depictions of a European in Chinese porcelain.

FreePort [No. 005]:  opens with a free launch party on the evening of Thursday, March 22, featuring live music, cash bar, exhibition tours, and a chance to meet the artist.

“Michael Lin’s artwork eloquently explores cultural translation, craftsmanship and commerce,” says Trevor Smith, PEM’s Curator of Contemporary Art. “Lin’s installation at PEM vividly connects east and west, past and present by animating global trade relationships established 300 years ago and playfully redefining what Asian Export Art looks like today.”

Shanghai-based artist, Michael Lin, is internationally recognized for his oversized and painstakingly executed paintings of ornamental motifs installed in architecturally distinct settings. Previous projects have included Taiwanese fabric motifs painted for the Venice Biennale, a vast atrium floor painting at The Hague, and a lush floral scrim installed on the classical façade of the Vancouver Art Gallery. For his installation at PEM, Lin expands his artistic focus to include export porcelain production, translating forms and images across cultures and making visible the systems of artisanal mass production.


Explore Michael Lin’s bold and unconventional installations in PEM’s Asian Export Art galleries, and listen as Lin discusses his inspirations and ideas in conversation with Curator of Contemporary Art Trevor Smith and Curator of Asian Export Art Karina Corrigan. Hear live music by Machine 475, enjoy a cash bar, chef demonstration, gallery tours and creative art making inspired by Lin’s bold colors and patterns. The Museum Shop will be open, featuring Lin’s Mr. Nobody sculptures and reproduction ceramics used in the installation. This event kicks off PEM’s 2012 Evening Party Series, with monthly events on third Thursdays, June through November. Made possible by the Lowell Institute.


Generous support for FreePort [No. 005]: Michael Lin provided by Fay Chandler. PEM also wishes to thank donors to the 2012 FreePort Fund: Terry and Dick Albright, Jeffrey P. Beale, Mr. Alfred D. Chandler III and The Reverend Susan Esco Chandler. Additional support provided by Mandarin Oriental, Boston and the East India Marine Associates of the Peabody Essex Museum. Media Partner: Art New England.


The Peabody Essex Museum presents art and culture from New England and around the world. The museum’s collections are among the finest of their kind, showcasing an unrivaled spectrum of American art and architecture (including four National Historic Landmark buildings) and outstanding Asian, Asian Export, Native American, African, Oceanic, Maritime and Photography collections. In addition to its vast collections, the museum offers a vibrant schedule of changing exhibitions and a hands‐on education center. The museum campus features numerous parks, period gardens and 22 historic properties, including Yin Yu Tang, a 200‐year‐old house that is the only example of Chinese domestic architecture on display in the United States.  HOURS: Open Tuesday‐Sunday and holiday Mondays, 10 am‐5 pm. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. ADMISSION: Adults $15; seniors $13; students $11. Additional admission to Yin Yu Tang: $5. Members, youth 16 and under and residents of Salem enjoy free general admission and free admission to Yin Yu Tang. INFO: Call 866‐745‐1876 or visit our Web site at

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