“East Meets West at New World Art Center”-Art Business Magazine
In the past few years, New york’s Soho has been pressing its boundaries outward, expanding inexorably into the other old cultural strongholds like Little Italy, Tribeca and Chinatown.
The newest outpost in the art colony south of Houston Street is at 250 Lafayette Street where the New World Art Center (NWAC) opened last June as the city’s largest private gallery. The imposing six-story building houses gout 3,500 squares foot exhibition floors and 2 floors of administrative offices, all dedicated to the advancement of art and culture.
Outside, the banner hanging above the entrance combines the balanced symbols of yin and yang and the occidental cross, embodying Dr. T.F. Chen’s, the Center’s founder, philosophy of East-West convergency.
Inside, the gallery showcases a rotating exhibition by different artists associated with the NWAC. In 1996, the Center opened with a retrospective of Chen’s work t date, reflecting a career spanning 45 years, from 1951 to the post-modern “Neo-I” art. dubbed the prophet of neo-iconography by critic Lawrence Jappson in 1978, T.F. Chen’s paintings are based upon the creative manipulation of readily recognized images. “Art and society,” according to Jeppson, “are held together by a matrix of shared visual experiences,’ Chen thus becomes “an exciting matchmaker of West and East, seeking to bind a fragmented world with his art.”
Lucia Curated many art shows for New World Art Center /Warner Brother movie producer: David Wolper & family take photo with Lucia and TF Chen/ Media Interview T.F.Chen &Lucia during the museum opening
Born and raised in Taiwan, T.F. Chen is himself a product of Eastern and Western influences. In 1963, Chen went to Paris on an art scholarship offered by the French Government, and spent the next 12 years earning his Ph.D. in art history at the Sorbonne and studying painting at the Ecole des Beau-Arts. During this period, he also wrote books and magazine articles on art for publication in his homeland where they were ready eagerly by other Taiwanese who were becoming increasingly oriented toward Western culture. Among them was Chen’s future wife, Lucia. The two finally met in Paris and got married in 1975.
Lucia Chen is a formidable woman, who one art critic calls “the mediator between Dr. Chen and the outside world.” Educated at Taipei Normal College, the University of Paris and the University of Maryland, Lucia entered the esoteric international art scene with virtually no knowledge of art, but emerged 20 years later art dealer, agent, advisor, publisher and collector. As if that isn’t enough, Lucia also devoted much of her seemingly boundless energy to writing numerous articles on the international art market and collecting African art and master prints.
After relocation to the U.S., the couple started a family in Maryland with the birds of their son Ted and daughter, Julie. Then in 1980, in part to launch a campaign t further her husband’s career as a painter, Lucia opened her first gallery in their home in Georgetown with money borrowed from friends and relations.
“In those days, I went to every international art fair and exposition in the country,” she recalls. “It was a very hard life – packing, shipping, setting up booths, re-packing, shipping, going to New York, to California, coming home, then going off again right away.”