Is design art? In the hands of Han Feng, it sure is. The Hangzhou-born clothing designer first brought her fashion work into the performing arts with costumes for Anthony Minghella’s Madame Butterfly at the English National Opera and the Met Opera. Her bespoke couture designs meld Chinese motifs and craftmanship with a bold, modern sensibility. Her passion for the connections between design and art has now led her to open a gallery in Shanghai and to support emerging artists through a residency in New York. Join us online, as Han Feng discusses inspiration, designs and art with her longtime friend, Nancy Berliner, Senior Curator of Chinese art at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
Han Feng is a designer who is well-known for her exploration of highly refined textures, materials and craftsmanship, often using Chinese motifs.Her clothing design and installations have been featured in major exhibitions at the Victoria and Albert Museum, Neue Galerie and Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, among others. She made her costume design debut with Anthony Minghella’s Madama Butterfly at the English National Opera and Met Opera.
Han grew up in Nanjing and Hangzhou and received her education from the China Academy of Arts. She moved to New York in 1985 and launched her first ready-to-wear collection in 1993.
A champion and collector of contemporary Chinese art, Han collaborates closely with many artists to combine art and design. She opened Han Feng Art Space in Shanghai in November 2017.
Nancy Berliner is Wu Tong Senior Curator of Chinese art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Prior to this role, she served the World Monuments Fund as an advisor on the Forbidden City Qianlong Garden project. Berliner, who is fluent in Chinese, studied at Harvard University and at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. She previously worked as a guest curator of the MFA’s 1996 exhibition “Beyond the Screen: Chinese Furniture of the 16th and 17th Centuries.”Beginning in 2000, she was the curator of Chinese art at the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass. There, she curated the 2010 exhibition “Emperor’s Private Paradise: Treasures from the Forbidden City.” She also initiated the Yin Yu Tang House project, which involved transferring a Chinese merchant house to the PEM.