Julia F. Andrews and Kuiyi Shen. A Literati Dialogue: The Collaborative Art of Arnold Chang and Michael Cherney
Many of the classics of Chinese poetry, calligraphy and painting were originally no more than brief episodes in an intellectual or aesthetic conversation between two artists, writers or scholars. Only occasionally intended as cultural monuments or masterpieces, they appeared in the moment of dialogue, when a writer or an artist composed a matched poem, a calligraphic frontispiece to a painting, a pictorial response or even a humorous riposte to a colleague’s text. Such spontaneous aesthetic and spiritual communications did not need to be immediate or even to take place at the same event, but might capture in ink on paper the meeting of minds separated by vast distances. Poems, paintings and prose that documented responses to both philosophical and personal sentiments were conveyed back and forth by messenger and mail between close friends kept physically apart by duty and circumstance. Paintings now familiar to a wide public were often intended, at least initially, for the eyes and heart of just one appreciative fellow spirit.