Animators’ Roundtable

Animators’ Roundtable Forum: Chinese Animation and (Post)Socialism
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
April 27-28, 2017

Films produced in socialist China (1949-1976) have often been regarded as political propaganda without much artistic creativity. Contrary to this stereotype, however, it was during these decades of “suppression of literature and arts” that Chinese animation reached a zenith of artistic splendor. The state-owned Shanghai Animation Film Studio was the only animation studio that existed during the socialist era. Dynamic and creative, it produced hundreds of high quality animated films and marked a brilliant page in the history of animation not only in China but worldwide. Although the majority of these masterpieces were made by the Shanghai Animation Film Studio during the socialist years, the studio continued its productions in the post-socialist 1980s and witnessed another artistic peak, which we can argue was actually an extension of the socialist era. The Shanghai Animation Film Studio continued to keep its socialist collective mode of production, and its accomplished animators were mainly those who matured and thrived during the socialist era.

This roundtable forum will discuss animated filmmaking in (post)socialist China from the insider perspectives of these animators. Their narratives revisit their gorgeous animation classics, reveal hidden histories and names behind the scenes, and bring us back to that unique era in a collective and nostalgic search for a glorious and irreproducible time that was once lost to history, but will now be recovered through their animated stories. Continue reading

Ai Weiwei’s Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

Source: NYT (3/26/17)
Ai Weiwei’s Latest Artwork: Building Fences Throughout New York City

A rendering of one piece in Ai Weiwei’s multipart Public Art Fund project “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors.” Credit: Ai Weiwei Studio

Ai Weiwei, the provocative Chinese artist, will build more than 100 fences and installations around New York City this fall for “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors,” one of his most large-scale public art projects to date.

The exhibition, which opens on Oct. 12, was commissioned by the Public Art Fund to celebrate the organization’s 40th anniversary and will comprise about 10 major fence-themed installations and scores of smaller works spread across multiple boroughs, including Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn. Continue reading

Politics infuses art in HK

Source: NYT (3/30/17)
As Hong Kong Ponders Its Future Under Beijing, Politics Infuses Its Art

“Defense and Resistance,” on display at the Asia Society in Hong Kong, shows photographs of the artist, South Ho, walling and then unwalling himself in with bricks marked “Made in Xianggang,” the word for Hong Kong in Mandarin, spoken on the mainland. Credit: Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times

HONG KONG — As 1,194 electors were casting ballots on Sunday for Hong Kong’s next leader, Sampson Wong was tagging Facebook videos that showed city residents making breakfast, riding trains and playing with cats.

The scenes were unremarkable, and that was the point: Mr. Wong and other members of the Add Oil Team, an artists’ collective, were broadcasting the videos of people engaged in activities that did not include voting as a critique of an unrepresentative political process. “No Election in Hong Kong Now,” the title of their Facebook Live stream said. Continue reading

Art Basel HK 2017

Source: NYT (3/22/17)
Art Basel Hong Kong: Where Commerce and Creativity Meet

A browser at last year’s Art Basel Hong Kong. Credit Courtesy of Art Basel

It’s hard to imagine a place more hard-wired for commerce than Hong Kong. The territory has a history steeped in trade, from its ceding to the British at the end of the First Opium War to its return to Chinese control in 1997 with a special economic and political status engineered to further economic development.

Buying and selling made the territory what it is. Continue reading

Theater, Art, and the CR talks

Theater, Art, and the Cultural Revolution: A Presentation featuring Zheng Shengtian and Chen Xiaomei
Wednesday, March 29, 6:30-8:00pm
China Institute
40 Rector Street, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10006

Tickets $5 each, please Register Here

Beginning in 1966, China’s Great Proletariat Cultural Revolution was a mass movement that shook the foundations of Modern China to its core. The movement’s ubiquitous presence disrupted all aspects of Chinese society, and has had a lasting impact on Chinese culture that continues until today. Continue reading

Chinese Art Outside the Art Space–cfp

Call for Papers
The 10th Annual Conference, the Centre for Chinese Visual Art, Birmingham City University

Thursday and Friday, 12-13 October 2017
School of Art, Birmingham City University
Margaret Street, Birmingham, England

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. During its first decade, CCVA has established a unique position in the UK to pioneer the research in the field. We are now convening this two-day Annual Conference to invite researchers, curators, art historians, critics and artists at all stages of their careers worldwide to contribute to the topic, marking the 10th anniversary of the Centre. Continue reading

Ren Hang dies at 29

For an obituary in Chinese and more of Ren’s photographs, see here. Maghiel van Crevel  <>

Source: British Journal of Photography (2/24/17)
Controversial and renowned Chinese photographer Ren Hang dies aged 29
Written by Tom Seymour

All images © Ren Hang, courtesy of Taschen

Ren Hang, one of the leading lights of the new generation of Chinese photographers, despite enduring censorship and intimidation from the authorities throughout his career, has died at the age of 29, his gallerist has confirmed.

Ren Hang was arrested many times for his sexually explicit, joyously celebratory photography. Although he was globally renowned, he never gained the recognition he deserved in his home country, in part because he was repeatedly denied the opportunity to display his work in Beijing and throughout China. Continue reading

Ren Hang’s erotic photography

Source: CNN (2/15/17)
Stark, Erotic Images of Chinese Youth Stirs Controversy
By Wilfred Chan, CNN

Ren Hang is a self-taught, Beijing-based photographer whose color-blasted, abstract erotic snapshots have recently made him one of Asia&#39;s most popular contemporary artists.

Photos: Ren Hang, Photographer

(CNN) When you look at the photographs, the first thing you notice are the naked, pale, Chinese youths — wearing nothing but blasé expressions.

You’ve entered the world of Ren Hang: a young, Beijing-based artist whose controversial compositions have won him international fame but censorship at home, despite his claims that his work has no meaning. Continue reading

Doc films of the 1950s and 1960s?

Dear members,

Recently I have been working on the reception of Du Fu in the 1950s and 1960s and learned about a “documentary” film entitled Poet Du Fu 诗人杜甫 in 1962. Central News Film Studio made this film to commemorate the 1250th anniversary of Du Fu’s birthday and to celebrate that Du Fu was elected as one of the ten world cultural figures by the World Peace Council. A related fact was that Japanese artist Sesshu 雪舟 was named one of the cultural figures of 1956 and they made a documentary about him as well. According to a Japanese newspaper, this film on Sesshu was also shown in Beijing. I will be very thankful if any member could recommend any sources regarding films of this type in the 1950s and 1960s in China. It would also be very helpful to my dissertation research if I could watch these films, so I’d be grateful for information on availability. Thank you very much.

Yanfei Yin
Ph.D. Candidate,
Department of History of Art
The Ohio State University

Socially-engaged art mooc and digital archive

We are launching a MOOC and a digital archive on Chinese socially engaged art:

1) MOOC “Discovering Socially Engaged Art in Contemporary China”


Time: February 6 (Monday) to March 19 (Sunday)
Language: English

This 6-week free online course serves as an introduction to Chinese socially engaged art. Over the past eight months, we traveled to multiple cities (Wuhan, Chengdu, Chongqing, Beijing …) and worked with a number of artists/ collectives (Xiong Wenyun, Xu Bing, Wang Jiuliang …). This course covers 16 socially engaged art projects and a number of theoretical issues. It also contains excerpts of 12 artist interviews, and six 360-degree videos of the actual sites where the projects took place. The artworks address a wide range of social issues, ranging from ecology to equality. Videos in this MOOC can be downloaded. Continue reading

Tate Research Centre funding opportunities

Deadline: 17 February

Tate welcomes applications for the Tate Research Centre: Asia Visiting Fellowship Scheme. 

This Visiting Fellowship Scheme provides scholars and curators the opportunity to realise a short-term research project in the field of modern and contemporary Asian art. Individuals engaged in the programme will be able to access information relating to works in the Tate collection and draw on the resources in Tate’s library and archive.  This is an ideal opportunity for a scholar or curator who wishes to undertake research at Tate and is keen to share their work on an international platform.  Continue reading

Ai Weiwei’s drowned refugee boy

Source: The Guardian (1/13/17)
Jake Chapman is right to criticise Ai Weiwei’s drowned boy artwork
What was Ai Weiwei thinking? Posing as a dead refugee boy on a beach in Lesbos was risible, fatuous and grotesque
By Jonathan Jones

‘Pathetic’? Ai Weiwei posing on the Greek island of Lesbos.

‘Pathetic’? Ai Weiwei posing on the Greek island of Lesbos. Photograph: Rohit Chawla/AP

Artist Jake Chapman is not known for his sentimentalism. In their masterwork Hell, he and his brother Dinos showed no pity for thousands of toy soldiers they tortured and eviscerated in a landscape of baroque psychosis. Continue reading

Masters of the Forbidden City

Source: Caixin (12/27/16)
Film on Palace Museum’s Antiquity Restoration Becomes Surprise Hit
By Han Wei and Liu Shuangshuang

Wang Jin, a craftsman at the Forbidden City, restores a clock which used to belong to Emperor Qianlong. Photo: IC

Wang Jin, a craftsman at the Forbidden City, restores a clock which used to belong to Emperor Qianlong. Photo: IC

On the same day that veteran director Zhang Yimou released his big-budget historical fantasy The Great Wall, a documentary by a lesser-known filmmaker hit the big screens. Masters in the Forbidden City, which follows the lives of relic restorers in China’s imperial palace who are painstakingly piecing together antiques thousands of years old, made a strong box office showing despite being shot on a shoestring budget of 1.5 million yuan ($216,000). Continue reading

Police destroy fake terracotta warriors

Source: BBC News (1/12/17)
China police destroy ‘fake’ terracotta warriors

Police dismantling the fake statues

MEILI LINTONG: A task force including police, tourist and traffic officials was set up in response to the discovery

Police in central China have raided a tourist attraction which they say was tricking people into visiting a fake terracotta army.

The site is in the Lintong district of Xi’an, the same area as the real Terracotta Army, which guards Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s mausoleum. Forty statues were destroyed in the operation after an online complaint prompted local officials to take action, the official Xinhua news agency reports. Continue reading

Sculptor Xiang Jiang

Source: Global Times (12/25/16)
‘Feministy’ Chinese sculptor Xiang Jing talks about retirement, nudity and her art
By Huang Tingting

Xiang Jing's <em>Keep In <em>S</em>ilence</em> (2003-2005) collection on display in Beijing in 2016 Photo: Courtesy of Xiang Jing <em>S</em>tudio

Xiang Jing’s Keep In Silence (2003-2005) collection on display in Beijing in 2016 Photo: Courtesy of Xiang Jing Studio

“Few female Chinese artists have attained the level of international recognition that sculptor Xiang Jing enjoys,” writes a 2012 CNN interview with the sculptor.

The 48-year-old artist, still one of China’s best-known artists in the West, told the Global Times in an interview on December 16 that she still feels uncomfortable being referred to as a “female” sculptor. Continue reading