120th anniversary of Lao She’s birth

Source: China Daily (3/7/19)
Influential writer’s work lives long in memory
By Chen Nan

People visit the Lao She Memorial Hall in Beijing. [Photo by Zou Hong/China Daily]

Range of activities mark 120th anniversary of Lao She’s birth.

“I am a nobody in literary and art circles. For decades, I have been conscientiously writing at my table. I am proud of my diligence. … I hope that the day I am buried, someone will put up an engraved monument, saying, ‘The nobody of literary and art circles, who has fulfilled his duty, sleeps here.'”

These words, from the writer Lao She, hang on a gray wall outside the Lao She Memorial Hall, a tranquil courtyard in Beijing. Continue reading

Wu Kangyang adds to China’s gender debate

Source: Sixth Tone (1/23/19)
Artist Brings ‘Haha-Then-Aha’ Moments to China’s Gender Debate
A Chengdu artist is hoping his witty works could have a real-world effect.
By Fan Yiying

Header image: A row of how-to books for men designed by Wu Kangyang to satirize women’s bookshelves at his exhibition in Chengdu, Sichuan province, Oct. 24, 2018. Fan Yiying/Sixth Tone

SICHUAN, Southwest China — In most Chinese bookstores, there’s a section of bright pink books instructing women on how to be a good housewife or find a man before they hit 30.

But at an out-of-the-way underground art space some distance from provincial capital Chengdu’s city center, there are how-to books of a different kind. “Be a Man Who Never Cries,” instructs one. Other titles include: “Men, Don’t Lose Arguments Because You Don’t Know How to Fight” and “‘Bad Boys’ Go Everywhere; Good Boys Go to Heaven.” Continue reading

Lam Qua’s portraits of disfigured patients

Source: Atlas Obscura (12/18/18)
A Chinese Artist’s Humanizing 19th-Century Portraits of Disfigured Patients
Lam Qua’s paintings depicting people with huge, bulbous tumors remain mesmerizing.

Lam Qua, photographed by John Thomson in 1871.

Lam Qua, photographed by John Thomson in 1871. WELLCOME COLLECTION/CC BY 4.0861

In the basement of the medical library at Yale, there is a box of stones, yellow and ivory and strangely whorled. Nearby are more than 80 portraits of men and women in dark gowns. Their expressions are calm—reserved, even—and they regard the onlooker coolly, despite the pendulous tumors that hang from their arms, noses, and groins. These are relics of a time nearly 200 years ago, when a man intending to collect souls for God found himself instead saving lives for the Emperor of China.

Peter Parker was born in Massachusetts in an era when American trading ships went back and forth incessantly between Boston and Guangzhou, also known as Canton, swapping opium for tea, silks, and other Chinese goods. When Parker graduated from medical school and seminary at Yale in 1834, he felt a call to go to east. He would found an eye hospital in China, he decided, where modern medicine’s miracles would convince patients of Christianity’s power. They would literally see the light, and become Presbyterians. Continue reading

Graffiti artists to go on trial

Source: SCMP (12/13/18)
China’s ‘Banksy’ and associate go on trial for defacing city walls with graffiti
Pair charged with ‘provoking trouble’ after spray painting more than 10 walls in south China city. One defendant said he wanted his work to be seen by more people
By Alice Yan

Two graffiti artists went on trial last week for decorating the walls of a south China city. Photo: Pearvideo.com

Two graffiti artists went on trial in southern China last week charged with “provoking trouble” after an evening of spray painting walls failed to impress the local police.

The male defendants, neither of whom was named, appeared in court in Zhaoqing, Guangdong province on Friday in the first trial of its kind, Beijing Youth News reported on Thursday.

One was identified as a 20-year-old university student who was quoted as saying he had a passion for graffiti and wanted his work to be seen by more people. Continue reading

Young artist pays hospital bills with portraits of ailing father

Source: SCMP (11/29/18)
Young artist finds creative way to pay hospital bills with portraits of ailing father
Woman who is hoping to get into art school in northeast China sells sketches online giving intimate glimpse of her dad’s life in cancer ward
By Alice Yan

Wang Tianyue says her father, Wang Fei, taught at an art studio before he fell ill. Photo: Sina

A 21-year-old woman in northeast China has found a creative way to help pay for, and cope with, her father’s cancer treatment – selling moving portraits of his life in hospital.

Wang Tianyue, who is hoping to get into art school in Shenyang, Liaoning province where she lives, has spent much of her time at the hospital where her father is being treated since he was diagnosed with terminal bile duct cancer in March, news website Sina reported on Wednesday.

The devastating news came not long after her mother underwent surgery for uterus cancer in September last year, according to the report. Continue reading

Visual Arts, Representations and Interventions in Contemporary China

Visual Arts, Representations and Interventions in Contemporary China: Urbanized Interface
Edited by Minna Valjakka and Meiqin Wang

ToC + Introduction

This edited volume provides a multifaceted investigation of the dynamic interrelations between visual arts and urbanization in contemporary Mainland China with a focus on unseen representations and urban interventions brought about by the transformations of the urban space and the various problems associated with it. Through a wide range of illuminating case studies, the authors demonstrate how innovative artistic and creative practices initiated by various stakeholders not only raise critical awareness on socio-political issues of Chinese urbanization but also actively reshape the urban living spaces. The formation of new collaborations, agencies, aesthetics and cultural production sites facilitate diverse forms of cultural activism as they challenge the dominant ways of interpreting social changes and encourage civic participation in the production of alternative meanings in and of the city. Their significance lies in their potential to question current values and power structures as well as to foster new subjectivities for disparate individuals and social groups. Continue reading

CCVA 2019–cfp

Urban Transformations and Contemporary Art in China
Centre for Chinese Visual Arts, Birmingham City University, in collaboration with Tate Liverpool

Date: 11-12 November 2019
Venue: Auditorium, Tate Liverpool, Liverpool L3 4BB
Abstract Submission deadline: 1 February 2019

The Centre for Chinese Visual Arts (CCVA) at Birmingham City University aims to foster new understandings and perspectives of Chinese contemporary arts, design and visual culture through interdisciplinary practices and theoretical studies.

Marking the 20th anniversary of the Shanghai-Liverpool twinning cities in 2019, we are now convening the 12th CCVA Annual Conference in collaboration with Tate Liverpool. This two-day event invites researchers, curators, artists, designers and architects in the fields of art, design, visual culture and urban studies at all stages of their careers worldwide to reassess the significance of the urban transformations in China, and to reflect upon their impacts on everyday experience and artistic and curatorial practices in the globalised world. Continue reading

New publication on Chinese contemporary art

Dear List Members,

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. <mdleduc@ualberta.ca>

Xi elbows Deng aside

Source: NYT
China’s Leader, Hogging Spotlight, Elbows Communist Titan Aside
阅读简体中文版 | 閱讀繁體中文版
By Steven Lee Meyers

In a painting touring museums across China, President Xi Jinping is front and center while a statue of Deng Xiaoping is a distant image.CreditCreditLam Yik Fei for The New York Times

SHENZHEN, China — Shortly after taking over as China’s leader, Xi Jinping made a pilgrimage to lay a wreath at a large bronze monument to one of his predecessors, the man credited with ushering in the country’s new era of capitalist prosperity 40 years ago, Deng Xiaoping.

Mr. Xi’s gesture here in the southern city of Shenzhen was hardly remarkable. Deng is second only to Mao in the pantheon of Communist China’s founding fathers, and his influence and popularity lingered long after his death in 1997. Every Chinese leader since has sought to position himself as heir to Deng’s legacy.

Mr. Xi, though, now appears to be taking a different approach. Continue reading

Feng Zikai exhibit

Source: China Daily (10/26/18)
National Art Museum commemorates painter Feng Zikai

A painting by Feng Zikai. Photo/namoc.org

The National Art Museum of China recently opened an exhibition of Feng Zikai’s paintings to honor the 120th anniversary of his birth. Having achieved a unique style in painting, writing and translation, Feng is a prestigious literatus of the 20th century China.

Three collections of his works are on display. Feng’s unpretentious tone and strokes indicate his reflection about the social reality and also his friendship with Master Hong Yi, a Chinese Buddhism monk and an artist.

The exhibit runs through Nov 4.

If you go: 9 am to 5 pm (closed on Mondays). National Art Museum, 1 Wusi Avenue, Dongcheng district, Beijing. 010-6400-1476.

Baghdad and Beijing in Book Art

The Program in Chinese Literature and Culture at EALAC and CSSAAME Journal presents
Baghdad and Beijing in Book Art
a lecture by Sonja Mejcher-Atassi, American University of Beirut.
Thursday, November 1, 2018 6:10pm-7:30pm
403 Kent Hall
Columbia University

This talk focuses on the work of the Iraqi artist Rafa Nasiri (1940-2014) and his autobiographical account Rihlati ila Sin (My Journey to China, 2012). It explores cross-cultural encounters between Baghdad and Beijing in the context of geopolitical change after the Bandung Conference of 1955 and the Iraq Revolution of 1958.

Sonja Mejcher-Atassi is an associate professor of Arabic and comparative literature at the American University of Beirut. She was a fellow in residence at the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin in 2017-18. Her research centers on modern Arabic literature, book culture and art, museum and collecting practices, private libraries, cultural/intellectual history and memory, and aesthetics and politics. Her publications include Rafa Nasiri: Artist Books ed. with May Muzaffar (2016); Reading across Modern Arabic Literature and Art (2012); Museums, Archives and Collecting Practices in the Modern Arab World ed. with John Pedro Schwartz (2012); Writing a ‘Tool for Change’: ‘Abd al-Rahman Munif Remembered (ed.) in MIT EJMES Vol. 7 (2007); in addition to numerous book chapters and journal articles. She is currently working on a biography of the Palestinian writer Jabra Ibrahim Jabra and an edited volume on the Syrian playwright and public intellectual Saadallah Wannous.

Moderated by Professor Lydia H. Liu

Posted by: Harlan Chambers <hdc2116@columbia.edu>

Wen C. Fong dies at 88

Source: NYT
Wen C. Fong, Shaper of Met Museum’s Asian Collection, Dies at 88
阅读简体中文版 | 閱讀繁體中文版
By David Barboza

Wen C. Fong at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2000. He curated some of the museum’s biggest exhibitions of Asian art. Credit: Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times

Wen C. Fong, a renowned scholar who helped the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York build one of the world’s most comprehensive collections of Asian art, died on Oct. 3 in Princeton, N.J. He was 88.

His wife, Constance Tang Fong, said the cause was leukemia.

A leading figure in the history of Chinese art, Professor Fong taught for 40 years at Princeton University, where in the 1950s he established the nation’s first doctoral degree program in Chinese art and archaeology.

Beginning in the early 1970s he was a driving force behind the Met’s ambitious effort to expand its collection of Asian art, including masterworks from China, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia and India, and add space in which to display it. Continue reading

A Home for Photography Learning exhibit

2018.9.13 – 2018.11.17
Curator: CHEN Shuxia / Artistic Director: TANG Xin

Artists: DI Yuancang, CHI Xiaoning, ZHONG Xingzuo, LI Tian, YU Genquan, ZHANG Lan, LV Xiaozhong, XING Senlin, YUAN Wenyuan, SUN Qingqing, FAN Shengping, QIAO Zhonglin, XIN Yingyi, XUE Anping, REN Shulin, WEI Kun, XU Yang, WANG Song, WANG Ruoshi, DI Yihong

Taikang Space’s latest exhibition “A Home for Photography Learning: The Friday Salon, 1977–1980” will open to the public from September 13 to November 17. Continue reading

Su Shi scroll may set record

Source: Bloomberg (8/30/18)
Rare Chinese ‘Da Vinci’ Scroll May Set Asian Art Auction Record
By Frederik Balfour

  • One of only two works by 11th-century artist known to exist
  • Christie’s values ancient Su Shi scroll at $50 million-plus

Wood & Rock by Su Shi Source: Christie’s Images Ltd.

An extremely rare, 11th-century Chinese scroll could set an auction price record for an Asian artwork, when it goes on the block at Christie’s November Hong Kong sale.

Estimated in excess of HK$400 million ($51 million), the work is only one of two known scrolls produced by Song dynasty artist Su Shi, and the first to ever appear at auction, Christie’s said. The other resides in the National Palace Museum in Taiwan. Continue reading