I would like to inform MCLC list members of my recent publication with MIT Press. Dissidence: The Rise of Chinese Contemporary Art in the West is a study of the Western reception of Chinese contemporary art since 1989. In this book, I propose that Western based art-world institutions recognize and valorize dissident gestures – artistic and political – as a means of distinguishing the singular originality of an artist, work, or genre. This book then explores how this valorization of dissidence has influenced the recognition and rise of Chinese contemporary art.
Taking an interdisciplinary approach combining sociology and art history, the book follows the careers of nine Chinese artists – Wang Du, Wang Keping, Huang Yong Ping, Yang Jiechang, Chen Zhen, Yan Pei-Ming, Shen Yuan, Ru Xiaofan, and Du Zhenjun – as they moved from China to France before, during, and after 1989. Through an analysis of the artists’ production, exhibitions, relationships with art-world agents, curatorial essays, and art reviews, I demonstrate how Chinese art and artists after the Tiananmen Square incident were valued not only for their artistic dissidence (their formal innovations), but also for their perceived political dissidence – that is, how their work was and, in many cases continues to be, understood and recognized as a dissident resistance to the regulation of free expression in China. The book concludes by considering how the valorization of Chinese contemporary art highlights the often-unrecognized relationship between contemporary art and liberal democracy, and how this relationship, in turn, makes supporting contemporary art a political dilemma for China.
All the best,
Marie Leduc, Ph.D. <email@example.com>