The original concept of the grand tour was born in the late sixteenth century when it became fashionable for young aristocrats to visit the great cities of Europe such as Paris, Venice, Florence, and Rome, as the culmination of their classical education. As rail and steamship travel became more accessible, the practice flourished and served as an educational rite of passage for Englishmen, Germans, French and Americans alike. The goal of The New Grand Tour is to revive, re-invent, redefine, and change the old concept by venturing well beyond a voyage for the privileged elite. Instead, The New Grand Tour would become a mechanism for a group of unique and talented artists to interact with foreign cultures in an appreciative and organic way, rather than simply as voyeurs.
Beginning on October 20, 2007, Young Kim, Deanne Cheuk, José Parlá, Rey Parlá, and Davi Russo began a thirteen day journey in the Far East. They began in Shanghai heading for the remote Yunnan Province, in search of the mystical city of Shangri la. With James Hilton’s novel, Lost Horizon as their guide, their journey took them through the beautiful valleys, rivers and lakes between the border of Yunnan Province and Tibet, through the Mei Li Snow Mountains and eventually to Beijing. While on this journey, each artist created new works within their respective medium, inspired by the places they visited during their travels.XX