Envisioning East Asian Art History: 20 Books in 2020

In an unprecedented year, 2020 will also see the publication of an exceptionally diverse and wide-ranging list of books on East Asian art history. Please join us for “Envisioning East Asian Art History: 20 Books in 2020,” and meet the first-time authors of these monographs to consider the present and future of East Asian art history.  We hope to come together as a community to celebrate the breadth and richness of these new publications, ranging from the tomb arts of the 3rd century BC to contemporary Japanese calligraphy, from early modern painting to textile arts, from canonical classics of calligraphy to modern design.

We ask: What can art history do to facilitate mutual understanding of complex histories of exchange, encounter, and creation?  What kinds of historical sympathy can we achieve through writing and teaching art history?  What challenges do we face, and how do we envision the role of this field in the crucial conversations of the future?

Friday, July 31, 11 AM-1 PM EST (8-11 PST, 4-6 PM UK, 11-1 AM SGT)
Read the books and meet the authors at https://eastasianarthistory.org/new-books/


Organized by the Steering Committee for the Society for the Promotion of International English-Language Scholarship on East Asian Art History (Aurelia Campbell, Yi Gu, Christine I Ho, Nozomi Naoi, Stephen H Whiteman, Xue Lei)
With support from University of Washington Press, University of California Press, Columbia University Press, and Harvard University Asia Center Press

Christine I. Ho
Assistant Professor, History of Art and Architecture
University of Massachusetts Amherst

The Art of Zhou Xiaoping in Aboriginal Australia

Source: Chinese Museum (nd)
Convergence: The Art of Zhou Xiaoping in Aboriginal Australia
Online from 25th June 2020, with the physical exhibition later in 2020.

Zhou Xiaoping’s art sheds light on traditions of art making that have been overlooked within the cannon of Western art history … he helps us look at cross-cultural art production in ways that are reinvigorating, respectful and enlightening. In so many ways the work of Zhou Xiaoping remains new and confronting.

Professor Robyn Sloggett (2020)
Director, the Grimwade Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation of the University of Melbourne

Artist Zhou Xiaoping in his Melbourne studio

Artist’s statement

The world suddenly seems to be a roaring lion that does not welcome a human invasion.

In 2020, under the worldwide attack of the coronavirus, humans seem to be awakening. The humans who have occupied the world are not powerful as we thought. We may fall in an instant. It is very frustrating that if the world is without humans, it will still continue in its life and beauty. So people in this world are more like guests. Continue reading

Graphic novel on Tiananmen Massacre

Source: CNN (6/20/20)
Graphic novel on the Tiananmen Massacre shows medium’s power to capture history
Written by James Griffiths, CNNHong Kong

Credit: IDW Publishing

As a young man in Beijing in the 1980s, Lun Zhang felt like he was taking part in a new Chinese enlightenment.

The country was undergoing paramount leader Deng Xiaoping’s “Reform and Opening Up,” and previously sealed-off areas of knowledge, arts, and culture were becoming newly available.

People who had only years before been living in the stifling, hyper-Maoist orthodoxy of the Cultural Revolution, in which anything foreign or historical was deemed counter-revolutionary, could now listen to Wham!, hold intellectual salons in which people read Jean-Paul Sartre or Sigmund Freud, or even publish their own works, taking aim at previously sacred political targets.

“In those days, our thirst to read, learn and explore the outside world was insatiable,” Zhang writes in his new graphic novel, “Tiananmen 1989: Our Shattered Hopes.” Continue reading

Animation in the Sinosphere

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of “Animation in the Sinosphere: A Review Essay,” by Evelyn Shih. The essay reviews two recent publications on animation in China and Taiwan. The review appears below, and at its online home: https://u.osu.edu/mclc/book-reviews/evelyn-shih/. My thanks to Jason McGrath, MCLC media studies book review editor, for ushering the review to publication.

Kirk Denton, editor

Animation in the Sinosphere: A Review Essay

Puppets, Gods, and Brands: Theorizing the Age of Animation from Taiwan, by Teri Silvio
Animated Encounters: Transnational Movements of Chinese Animation, 1940s-1970s, by Daisy Yan Du

Reviewed by Evelyn Shih
MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright May, 2020)

Teri Silvio, Puppets, Gods, and Brands: Theorizing the Age of Animation from Taiwan Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2019. 290 pages. ISBN: 9780824881160 (Paper); 9780824876623 (Hardcover).

Daisy Yan Du, Animated Encounters: Transnational Movements of Chinese Animation Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2019. 276 pages. ISBN: 9780824877644 (Paper); 9780824872106 (Hardcover).

Has the age of animation begun? And if it has, to whom does it belong? Two new books on Chinese and Taiwanese animation bring these questions into focus using materials that have thus far received scant attention in English-language scholarship. In global animation studies, by far the dominant loci for animation have been America and Japan—the former beginning with the worldwide stardom of Mickey Mouse, and the latter beginning with the post-WWII boom of anime, which subsequently drew interest to earlier animation and related media. The modes of animation that emerged from these locations have come to define the paradigms through which most scholars approach animation, and included among these framing paradigms is the specter of national cinema. While both Teri Silvio’s Puppets, Gods, and Brands: Theorizing the Age of Animation from Taiwan and Daisy Yan Du’s Animated Encounters: Transnational Movements of Chinese Animation engage with that framework, they also work to push the model forward with new perspectives.

Silvio challenges “Japanamerica” through the lens of post-colonialism, taking as her case study a past colony of Japan and a neo-colonial client state of the US: Taiwan.[1] More importantly, however, she broadens the field of animation studies by finding an interdisciplinary interface with anthropology and religious studies—that is, she engages seriously with media studies, especially areas such as fan and reception studies, film analysis, and production studies, but her strength is in cultural theory. The “age of animation” that she proposes in her title is not just an acknowledgement of increasingly sophisticated digital technologies and virtual realities reaching a new level of omnipresence in contemporary life; it also redefines animation as a mode of post-humanism. As she puts it, “animation in the narrow sense (a kind of cinema or video) is popular because animation in the broad sense (giving objects lives of their own) is good to think with—specifically, to think through what is happening right now in the intersections of technology and capitalism, of the global and the local, of the human and the nonhuman” (3). In one deft move, Silvio provincializes Japanese and American animation, which is after all just “a kind of cinema or video,” and finds a larger question that puts a relatively marginal mode of Taiwanese puppet animation at the center. Puppets, after all, are objects that exist precisely to have a “life of their own.” Continue reading

Portraits of schoolchildren

Source: SCMP (5/29/20)
Portraits of schoolchildren in rural China on show in Hong Kong to raise funds for charity
Hong Kong artist Hazel Tsui has visited more than 100 schools in remote parts of China as a volunteer. At each one, she takes photos that she later uses as the basis for oil paintings
By Kylie Knott

Hong Kong artist Hazel Tsui has helped charities since she was a teenager. Paintings she has made of children she photographed at schools in rural China are on show in Hong Kong to raise money for a charity she and her husband founded. Photo: SCMP / Jonathan Wong

Hong Kong artist Hazel Tsui has helped charities since she was a teenager. Paintings she has made of children she photographed at schools in rural China are on show in Hong Kong to raise money for a charity she and her husband founded. Photo: SCMP / Jonathan Wong

Hong Kong artist Hazel Tsui is modest about her portraits of schoolchildren that capture her time volunteering in remote areas of China.

“I started volunteering in poor rural areas of China around 2004 and have visited more than 100 primary and secondary schools,” she says.

Her work, which has taken her to Gansu, Yunnan, Sichuan and Guizhou provinces, was driven by concerns over the high rates of illiteracy in these remote villages.

“Sometimes it would take up to 18 hours by train, car and foot to reach these places,” she says. “I took loads of pictures and each one tells a story about village life. Putting these moments into a painting has been an interesting process but I must point out that I’m not a professional painter, I’ve had no formal training.” Continue reading

TAP spring 2020

The spring 2020 issue of the Trans Asia Photography Review is now available! This special expanded issue marks the tenth anniversary of the TAP Review. It features 20 commentaries, book reviews, curatorial projects and profiles of contemporary photographic platforms in Asia. It also includes information about the wonderful trio of new editors – Thy Phu, Yi Gu and Deepali Dewan – who will be shepherding the journal into its next decade. You can read and respond to their Call for Proposals in this new issue, which can be found at tapreview.org. You may need to refresh your browser to see the updated contents:

Ten Years of the Trans Asia Photography Review / Notes from the Field Continue reading

Zhang Xiaogang’s response to the pandemic

Source: China Channel (5/19/20)
Memory in the Year of Covid
By Jonathan Fineberg
Artist Zhang Xiaogang’s new painting in response to the pandemic – Jonathan Fineberg

All images are reproduced with permission, courtesy of the artist, Zhang Xiaogang and Pace Gallery.

Zhang Xiaogang, born in China in 1958, grew up during the Cultural Revolution and was among the first generation of artists to emerge from the newly reopened art schools after the death of Mao. He is today revered in China, and recognized internationally as one of China’s leading artists. He shows with Pace Gallery worldwide, but he lives and works in Beijing.

In late February, Zhang emailed me to say that he and his wife Jiajia “have been self-isolated at home for a month … during this special period. China is experiencing a double disaster – the challenge of disease and humanity.” Six weeks later (in April), he sent me a photo of a new self-portrait. In it, he sits on a brown sofa, eyes closed in contemplation, with a bell jar over his head. It is a poetic and poignant image that goes straight to my own sense of living in this moment of global infection. I don’t speak Chinese and Zhang doesn’t speak English. But this painting articulates a complicated set of feelings which we all understand. Continue reading

HK’s Human Rights Arts Prize

Source: SCMP (5/8/20)
Hong Kong’s Human Rights Arts Prize – a powerful showcase of art and activism
‘This prize provides a platform for artists to share how they interpret and translate human rights issues,’ says judge Chantal Wong of the 35 shortlisted works
By Kylie Knott

Works on display at the 2020 Human Rights Arts Prize exhibition include Floating City, by Chuen Kwun Lam. Photo: courtesy of Hong Kong Human Rights Arts Prize 2020 / Chuen Kwun Lam

Works on display at the 2020 Human Rights Arts Prize exhibition include Floating City, by Chuen Kwun Lam. Photo: courtesy of Hong Kong Human Rights Arts Prize 2020 / Chuen Kwun Lam

Art and activism is a powerful combination that has the potential to bring about social and political change.

And the art world – past and present – is littered with people who have used their creativity to make a statement, from Spanish artist Pablo Picasso (check out his 1951 painting Massacre in Korea, which criticises America’s intervention in the Korean war) and American contemporary painter Kara Walker, whose works explore race, gender and sexuality, to the anti-establishment messages of British graffiti artist Banksy and the daring works of Chinese dissident Ai Weiwei. The list goes on.

In Hong Kong, the annual Human Rights Arts Prize is a great example of art and activism. Now in its sixth edition, the prize features established and emerging Hong Kong artists from diverse ethnic backgrounds. Continue reading

Post-internet art

Source: SCMP (5/8/20)
Post-internet art: 5 Chinese artists taking aim at country’s digital world
Virtual identities, data security, internet love and government censorship all come under the scrutiny of China’s popular post-internet artists. Artist Miao Ying created a spoof website mocking the Chinese government’s 2015 ‘Internet Plus’ strategy for an exhibition in New York.
By Aina Bhargave

Part of Cyber Altar (2019) by Chinese post-internet artist Lu Yang at Art Basel Hong Kong 2019.

Part of Cyber Altar (2019) by Chinese post-internet artist Lu Yang at Art Basel Hong Kong 2019.

China has more internet users than any other country in the world who have to constantly deal with issues including the proliferation of fake news, data security and government censorship. These challenges are being expressed in the country’s art world, through the rise of what is known as “post-internet” art.

Here are five post-internet artists who, having grown up in a tech-transformed China, are making waves on the Chinese and international contemporary art scenes for their use of digital mediums as well as their fresh, critical takes on all things online.

Lu Yang
Born 1984. Lives in Shanghai

Lu’s works – loud, in-your-face Technicolor explosions – are hard to miss and have captivated art audiences around the world. If you attended Art Basel Hong Kong last year, you would have seen her installation Cyber Altar (2019) at Societe Berlin’s neon-lit booth, which resembled a 1980s video game arcade. Continue reading

Assembling the Cosmopublic

For those who are interested in contemporary art, environmental humanities, object-oriented methodology, and citizenship, you might be interested in this article published by Mediapolis:

Hai Ren, “Assembling the Cosmopublic: Art Intelligence and Object-Oriented Citizenship.”
Website: <https://www.mediapolisjournal.com/2020/03/assembling-the-cosmopublic-art-intelligence-and-object-oriented-citizenship/

Hai Ren 任海

The Chinese Lyric Sequence

The Chinese Lyric Sequence: Poems, Paintings, Anthologies
by Joseph R. Allen
Cambria Press, Cambria Sinophone World Series (General Editor: Victor H. Mair)
Hardback  ISBN: 9781621964780 $124.99 412pp. (includes 15 images and 7 tables)

Order direct from Cambria Press by March 15, 2020, and save 25% (Use coupon code SAVE25).

Classical Chinese poetry is the dominating lyric form of world literature. Mainstream shi (lyric poetry) is a genre spanning more than two millennia, with poems numbering in the hundreds of thousands—extant shi from the medieval Tang dynasty alone consists of 48,000 poems by 2,200 authors. In these thousands of poems are some of the world’s more enduring examples of the short occasional poem, inspiring readers and writers across the globe with its vivid language of perspicuity. And embedded within that great lyric tradition, from its very beginnings to contemporary times, is the subtle but unsung form of the sequence of poems. Along its related meta-forms of the literary anthology and album of paintings, this forms the Chinese lyric sequence.

The Chinese lyric sequence was never named or even noticed, by the poets, painters, or anthologists who worked in the genre over the millennia. It was an invisible but powerful form; in fact, Professor Joseph Allen argues that its power was in its invisible hold on the artists. Although the works discussed are some of the most canonical in the tradition, this is the first time that close attention and detailed analysis has been brought to the Chinese lyric sequence, both in its specific manifestations and as a shared aesthetic form. In doing so, Allen provides a focused introduction to Chinese literature and art for the general reader, while offering new insights for the specialist. Continue reading


I-Chen KUO, ‘33.5 degrees N, 33.3 degrees E’, from the series ‘Survivor’, 2007, digital print. Courtesy of the artist.

Call for Papers – Australian and New Zealand Journal of Art (ANZJA), vol. 21, issue 1
Reconfiguring the World: The Art of Greater China and its Diasporas
350 word abstract, due 31 March 2020
Final Submissions Due: 10 July 2020
Editors: Associate Professor Claire Roberts and Dr Mark Erdmann

This special issue of the ‘Australian and New Zealand Journal of Art’ seeks papers that examine the art of the Greater China region encompassing mainland China, Macao, Hong Kong and Taiwan as well as that of diasporic artists working in different contexts around the world. Greater China is understood as an active cultural space defined by historical, multi-directional flows of people and ideas rather than territorial boundaries, and the Chinese diaspora connects China to all parts of the world. By recovering forgotten or marginalised histories of artworks, artists’ lives, art networks, and exhibitions, it is possible to consider alternatives to monolithic national narratives and reconfigure the field of “Chinese” art history in more complex and connected ways. Continue reading

Sensible Politics

William A. Callahan, Sensible Politics: Visualizing International Relations (Oxford University Press, 2020).
Discount code ASFLYQ6: so paperback is $19.57

Book abstract:

Visual images are everywhere in international politics. But how are we to understand them? In Sensible Politics, William A. Callahan uses his expertise in theory and filmmaking to explore not only what visuals mean, but also how visuals can viscerally move and connect us in “affective communities of sense.”

The book’s rich analysis of visual images (photographs, film, art) and visual artifacts (maps, veils, walls, gardens, cyberspace) shows how critical scholarship needs to push beyond issues of identity and security to appreciate the creative politics of social-ordering and world-ordering. Continue reading

Drawing from Life

Drawing from Life: Sketching and Socialist Realism in the People’s Republic of China
By Christine I. Ho
University of California Press, 2020.

Drawing from Life explores revolutionary drawing and sketching in the early People’s Republic of China (1949–1965) in order to discover how artists created a national form of socialist realism. Tracing the development of seminal works by the major painters Xu Beihong, Wang Shikuo, Li Keran, Li Xiongcai, Dong Xiwen, and Fu Baoshi, author Christine I. Ho reconstructs how artists grappled with the representational politics of a nascent socialist art. The divergent approaches, styles, and genres presented in this study reveal an art world that is both heterogeneous and cosmopolitan. Through a history of artistic practices in pursuit of Maoist cultural ambitions—to forge new registers of experience, new structures of feeling, and new aesthetic communities—this original book argues that socialist Chinese art presents a critical, alternative vision for global modernism.

Christine I. Ho is Assistant Professor of East Asian Art at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Continue reading

#MeToo at CAFA

Source: Sup China (1/21/20)
#MeToo At China’s Most Prestigious Art School


Photo credit: SupChina illustration by Derek Zheng

A group of students at the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA), China’s top art school, are calling on school authorities to fire a professor who has been disciplined for sexual misconduct but has retained his teaching position.

The demand first made headlines on January 10, when one alleged victim posted an audio recording (in Chinese) to social media. The clip features a conversation between her and a member of the school’s discipline committee in which she asks why classes taught by Yáo Shùnxī 姚舜熙, who was found violating policies against sexual misconduct, were on the course schedule again.

In June 2019, dozens of students filed a collective complaint against Yao, accusing him of multiple instances of sexual harassment, selling students’ artworks without their permission, taking bribes, and fabricating allegations against other instructors at the school. Continue reading