Defining manhua—usually translated as “caricature” or “cartoon”—is like trying to put spilled ink back into the bottle.  The word should be warning enough. Where the second character for the second syllable, hua, refers to pictorial art in general, the first character, man, connotes several situations: a state of overflow and inundation, an attitude of freedom and casualness, and, most broadly, a general feeling of being all over the place. The challenge of this book—The Pictorial Turn and China’s Manhua Modernity, 1925-1960—is to embrace the chaos, while also making sense of it. Continue reading
First off, since the exhibition won’t open until Oct 9, the protesters so far are mostly reacting to the reports from critics who previewed it, such as the NYTimes article “Where the Wild Things are: China’s Art Dreamers at the Guggenheim,” which drew overwhelmingly ferocious comments after it was published a few days ago. I have to say that those previews I have read are extremely poorly written, with minimum efforts to contextualize those animal works, and they should be partially responsible for the outrage.
Also, the works Guggenheim shows are far from the most radical or “cruel” performance art that involved the use of animals (for a comprehensive survey of those works, see Meiling Cheng, Beijing Xingwei: Contemporary Chinese Time-based Art, 2013), and all the three removed works have been exhibited in many other art institutions internationally, often causing controversy but never ending up being censored. In comparison, the intolerance New Yorkers have demonstrated is rather embarrassing. Continue reading
Source: The Guardian (9/26/17)
Guggenheim Museum pulls three artworks featuring animals after threats of violence
Works in an exhibition of Chinese art that included reptiles eating insects and dogs on a treadmill are removed from show in New York following outcry
By Benjamin Haas
New York’s Guggenheim Museum will remove three art pieces from an upcoming show featuring Chinese conceptual artists, amid accusations of animal cruelty and repeated threats of violence.
The museum will not exhibit three pieces during Art and China after 1989: Theatre of the World – two videos featuring live animals and a sculpture that includes live insects and lizards – over “concern for the safety of its staff, visitors and participating artists”. Continue reading
Source: China Daily (9/19/17)
Exhibition focuses on work of noted army photographer
By Lin Qi
Two gunshots were heard at the Bethune International Peace Hospital in Shijiazhuang, Hebei province, in December 1949. A Japanese doctor was shot dead by Sha Fei (1912-50), a patient of tuberculosis and a noted photographer of the People’s Liberation Army.
Two months later, Sha was sentenced to death by a military court in China.
A retrial in 1986 acquitted Sha posthumously saying he was in mental distress as he was reminded of the cruelty of war scenes when seeing the Japanese doctor, and he thought the doctor had attempted to poison him.
Sha took up photography in the 1930s and became the first full-time photographer of the Eighth Route Army led by the Communist Party of China around 1937.
But, Sha’s career as a photographer was short lived, and his work was not studied or presented until in recent times.
A Tower of Light, an exhibition now on at the museum of Beijing Fine Art Academy, sheds light on Sha’s contribution to 20th-century Chinese photography. On show are some 100 images from Sha’s oeuvre, which are printed from the negative plates owned by his family. Continue reading
Source: NYT (9/20/17)
Where the Wild Things Are: China’s Art Dreamers at the Guggenheim
By JANE PERLEZ
BEIJING — The signature work at “Art and China After 1989,” a highly anticipated show that takes over the Guggenheim on Oct. 6, is a simple table with a see-through dome shaped like the back of a tortoise. On the tabletop hundreds of insects and reptiles — gekkos, locusts, crickets, centipedes and cockroaches – mill about under the glow of an overhead lamp.
During the three-month exhibition some creatures will be devoured; others may die of fatigue. The big ones will survive. From time to time, a New York City pet shop will replenish the menagerie with new bugs. Continue reading
Call for participation for “Pursuing a career in Chinese art in the UK”
An event co-organised by BPCS and MEAA
October 3rd 2017, 12:30-17:00 in Bath
This event is aimed at postgraduate students and early career academics interested in Chinese art, whether as a career or as a source for their research. As the sectors of Chinese art higher education and art market are evolving fast in the UK, this event invites participants to reflect on and prepare for a career related to the arts of China.
1) Visit of the MEAA (Museum of East Asian Arts, Bath) in small groups: an occasion to network among each other. (Free for selected participants. For general public, included in the talks’ fees if booked in advance, entrance only valid on the same day.) Continue reading
Source: BBC News (7/14/17)
Liu Xiaobo: The Chinese dissident memorialised in social art
Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo was an inspiring figure for a new generation of Chinese pro-democracy activists and his death is being remembered by political artists.
Many activists saw him as a godfather for their cause, and have paid tribute to a man who was branded a criminal by Chinese authorities for his activism and jailed several times for “subversion”.
One source of inspiration was the well-documented love between Liu Xiaobo and his wife, Liu Xia, who has also been placed under house arrest.
This image of them, which was circulated recently by their activist friends, particularly resounded with many. Continue reading
Source: NYT (6/2/17)
The Biggest-Selling Artist at Auction Is a Name You May Not Know
By SCOTT REYBURN
NEW MEDIA ART HISTORIES IN ASIA
The Courtauld Institute of Art and Tate Research Centre: Asia invite applications for a fully funded AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership Award, starting in September 2017 for a period of three years.
The award will enable the student to pursue doctoral research in Art History while gaining first-hand experience of work within a museum setting. The successful applicant will receive their degree from The Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London.The supervisors are: Dr Wenny Teo (The Courtauld Institute of Art) and Dr Sook-Kyung Lee (Tate Research Centre: Asia).
Application deadline: 17.00 GMT, 16 July 2017
Source: National Geographic (5/19/17)
Three Quirky Projects Make Art Out Of China’s Polluted Air
Filthy air has inspired Chinese citizens to speak out—and in some cases, to create art.
By Beth Gardiner
BEIJING, CHINA: Dirty air is part of life in China, unavoidable and in your face. It has inspired a tremendous boom in renewable energy, as the Chinese government begins to try to wean the country off coal. It has also inspired a level of citizen action that is unusual in an autocratic country.
And some of those active citizens are artists. Continue reading
Source: SCMP (5/7/17)
The Forbidden City’s treasures for the masses, at their finger tips
The Palace Museum wants not only to sell cultural heritage, but also merchandise inspired by the imperial past that Chinese consumers have a thirst for
By Celine Ge
At China’s five century old Forbidden City in the heart of Beijing, 16 million visitors a year navigate through its numerous halls and pavilions with red walls and yellow-glazed roof tiles perched on white marble terraces.
Museum officials are hopeful that the visitors take away with them a grasp of the aesthetics of Chinese ancient architecture and the brilliance of the artisans, as well as be persuaded by the “soft power” of a country with 5,000 years of civilization. Continue reading
Source: China Daily (15/04/17)
Guilin’s art river: charting the source of China’s masterpiece
By Harvey Thomlinson
From a source high in the Mao’er Mountain the Lijiang River sweeps south toward Guilin and into the world’s imagination. Millions each year take to its waters, weaving between poetic peaks and submerged islands in search of scenery that arguably epitomizes Chinese landscape beauty. The Lijiang River scenery was even selected as a suitably phantasmagoric location for the Star Wars films. Continue reading
Source: Washington Post (4/27/17)
China wants a bold presence in Washington — so it’s building a $100 million garden
By Adrian Higgins
This summer, a construction team is expected to begin transforming a 12-acre field at the U.S. National Arboretum into one of the most ambitious Chinese gardens ever built in the West.
By the time Chinese artisans finish their work some 30 months later, visitors will encounter a garden containing all the elements of a classical Chinese landscape: enticing moongate entrances, swooping and soaring roof lines, grand pavilions with carved wooden screens and groves of golden bamboo. The grounds will boast two dozen handcrafted pavilions, temples and other ornate structures around a large central lake. Continue reading
BEIJING — Above rows of assembly line workers, a mix of provocative slogans and abstract paintings adorns the corrugated metal walls of the Bernard Controls factory in southern Beijing.
In this unlikely setting, local artists and employees of the factory have spent the last six years producing artworks and performance pieces as part of a project managed by an Italian artist, Alessandro Rolandi. Called Social Sensibility, it is dedicated to injecting spontaneity and random exploration into the workplace.
“I have no artistic aspirations. I just like fresh things and to gain more knowledge,” Wu Shuqing, 37, a worker on the assembly line, said about her participation. Despite having no previous film experience, she shot a 24-hour, black-and-white film called “Sensual Love of the Fingertips,” depicting her hands performing dexterous, repetitive tasks. Continue reading
Source: Index on Censorship (3/21/17)
#IndexAwards 2017: Chinese cartoonist Rebel Pepper refuses to put down his pen
Despite the persecution he faces for his work, Rebel Pepper continues to satirise the Chinese state from a life in exile in Japan
BY RYAN MCCHRYSTAL
Wang Liming, better known under the pseudonym Rebel Pepper, is one of China’s most famous political cartoonists. He is best-known for his work satirising China’s president Xi Jinping, for which he has faced repeated persecution.
“Most of my political cartoon works expose the CCP’s crimes against the law, and the social problems and environmental crises that they have created,” Wang says. ”Comics are a simple and direct visual language, often more than the performance of an article, so the Communist authorities naturally hate my works very much.” Continue reading