Tang Xiaoming exhibit

Source: China Daily (6/13/19)
Exhibition sheds light on painter of Lu Xun portrait
By LIN QI | China Daily

Never to Cease Fighting, a portrait of Lu Xun by painter Tang Xiaoming, is on display at the National Art Museum of China. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Never to Cease Fighting [永不休战], a portrait of Lu Xun, a leading figure of 20th-century Chinese literature, is familiar to many Chinese people because the painting of him produced in 1971 has frequently been published in school textbooks over the years. But few people know much about its painter Tang Xiaoming [汤小铭], a devoted educator who has long been based in Guangzhou, Guangdong province.

With a career spanning six decades, Tang, 80, is honorary chairman of the Guangdong Artists Association and has created dozens of portraits both of luminaries like Lu Xun and ordinary people from different walks of life. He exemplifies a realistic approach to painting that used to dominate the Chinese art scene for decades, and the figures he has depicted show the archetypal faces of a country in the throes of progress. Continue reading

A Dark Blue exhibit

Source: New Haven Independent (6/7/19)
Art Of Darkness

Fiona Sze-Lorrain and Fritz Horstman

Fiona Sze-Lorrain and Fritz Horstman

The words are surrounded by billows of shade that could be smoke, or clouds, or particles moving through water. The color seems both kinetic and serene at the same time, capturing light and shadow. The words are written by hand: “Scooping up handfuls of fresh / silence from a mirror of oblivion, / I gather from the well / that night disguises his guests. / It pleases him that wind / must wait. Even rain. Misled / the tempered dark takes a false / step. So many shadows. / So few ghosts — I was lonely / but curious / in this imperfect end.”The above poem-painting is one of several pieces in “A Blue Dark,” a collaboration between Paris-based poet, translator, and Zheng harpist Fiona Sze-Lorrain and Connecticut-based artist Fritz Horstman running now at the Institute Library on Chapel Street through Sept. 7, with a guided walk-through by Horstman on June 9. Continue reading

Bizarre World of Du Qiurui

Source: NeoCha (5/17/19)
Bizarre World
By Tomás Pinheiro

A Bizarre World: Tea Shop Sensation (2018) 30 x 40 in / Acrylic on canvas

Horror, despair—and facekinis. Welcome to the mind of Du Qiurui, a painter and illustrator who has been offering an unusual perspective on the fast-changing landscape of China. Du uses bright colors and thick lines to portray ordinary people in overcrowded scenes, together with disturbing objects and terrifying demons. His paintings represent the underlying tensions of modern Chinese society in a convoluted way, with aspects of dark humor.

Du was born in Beijing in the early 1990s to a single mother, the CEO of a design firm who worked around the clock. She’d occasionally travel abroad for work, bringing him along to see new places. Mostly, though, Du was raised by his grandmother, listening to her extraordinary stories. As an introverted child, he relied on these stories, as well as comic books and movies, to keep him company. “My childhood was a combination of reality and fantasy,” he recalls, “I built an imaginary world for myself.” Continue reading

TAP Review (spring 2019)

The spring 2019 issue of the Trans Asia Photography Review is now available online at tapreview.org. (You may need to refresh your browser to view the new contents.) This issue, titled “Circulation,” features the following articles, book reviews, and interviews:


Clare Harris, “Creating a Space for Performing Tibetan Identities: A Curatorial Commentary”

Kevin Michael Smith, “Images Under Construction: Photomontage in Interwar Europe and Japan”

Yiwen Liu, “Witnessing Death: The Circulation of Lu Xun’s Postmortem Image”

Russet Lederman, “Photobooks by Women from Asia: A Conversation with Amanda Ling-Ning Lo, Miwa Susuda, and Iona Ferguson”

Chen Shuxia, Zhou Dengyan, and Shi Zhimin, “Photographic Praxis in China, 1930s-1980: A Conversation with Chen Shuxia, Shi Zhimin, and Zhou Dengyan about Shi Shaohua and the Friday Salon”

Erin Hyde Nolan, “The Gift of the Abdulhamid II Albums: The Consequences of Photographic Circulation” Continue reading

Arts of Asia (May-June 2019)

Arts of Asia May/ June


This year’s May/ June edition of Arts of Asia is dedicated to the East Asian art collection at the Museum of Cultural History in Oslo, Norway. East Asian Art has never had much of a priority in Norway, but the way that the Cultural History’s collection is now being treated is fairly grim. The collection has been packed away for storage for an undisclosed amount of time, and no one knows when or even if it will be exhibited again. Several of the items written about in Arts of Asia have never been exhibited or written about prior to this publication.


Linn A. Christiansen <l.a.christiansen@hum.leidenuniv.nl>
PhD candidate at Leiden University

Liu Xia rebuilds her career as an artist

Source: The New Yorker (4/30/19)
Liu Xia Rebuilds Her Career as an Artist
By Nick Frisch

Photograph above: Marzena Skubatz for The New Yorker; Photographs below: Liu Xia

After nearly a decade under house arrest in Beijing, Liu Xia, the widow of the Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, has started over in exile in Berlin.

The Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo won the Nobel Peace Prize in October of 2010, while imprisoned in Liaoning, a province in China’s northeastern rust belt, for co-authoring an open letter calling for liberal democracy in China. A literary critic, professor, and poet, Liu Xiaobo had been an unwavering voice against the authoritarianism of the Chinese Communist Party for more than two decades. He had served several long prison terms—the first one for being a leader of the Tiananmen Square demonstrations, in 1989—and had been harassed and surveilled continually by the state. Though the Communist Party suppressed his voice, he was widely known within China’s intellectual community and among human-rights activists around the world. When he was awarded the Nobel, for “his long and nonviolent struggle for fundamental human rights,” he became a global celebrity. Unable to reach him in prison, foreign journalists descended on the apartment complex in Beijing where his wife, the artist and poet Liu Xia, lived alone in their home. Continue reading

Vinograd lecture at the British Museum

Professor Richard Vinograd to give the 2019 Sir Percival David Lecture at the British Museum, on 16 May.

Work of art: artistic labour in 19th century China
Thursday 16 May 2019, 18.00–19.00
BP Lecture Theatre, The British Museum
Free, booking essential

Representations of the work of Chinese art, that is artistic labour, had many sources and dimensions both within and outside of nineteenth century China. Some of those arenas of interest were in artistic process and technologies, in imperial works of ideological or political import, and in customs and occupations from ethnographic perspectives. This lecture will focus on two further views, involving the foreign photographer’s lens and the sociality of urban Chinese painters.

Richard Vinograd is the Christensen Fund Professor in Asian Art in the Department of Art & Art History at Stanford University. He is the author of Boundaries of the Self: Chinese Portraits, 1600-1900; (1992); co-editor of New Understandings of Ming and Qing Painting(1994); co-author of Chinese Art; Culture (2001) and author of Ink Worlds: Contemporary Chinese Paintings from the Collection of Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang (2018). Professor Vinograd’s research interests and publications include studies of Chinese portraiture, landscape painting, literati painting of late imperial China, urban print culture, painting aesthetics and theory, art historiography, modern and contemporary Chinese painting, and aspects of intercultural artistic exchange in the early modern era.

Sponsored by the Sir Percival David Foundation Trust.


Posted by: Helen Wang <hwang@britishmuseum.org>

Naked Body comic collection

Source: SCMP (4/16/19)
Naked Body: the Chinese comic collection dedicated to nudity and defying censorship

  • When Chinese artist Yan Cong was told he could not print any nudity in his books, he produced an anthology filled with nude characters
  • Body hair, fetishes, Madonna, and a man’s head being eaten by shaving cream are all themes in the collection

By The Guardian

Naked Body is a Chinese comic collection of short stories all featuring nudity.

Naked Body is a Chinese comic collection of short stories all featuring nudity.

Back in the early 2010s, Beijing comic artist Yan Cong (a pseudonym that translates to “chimney”) was told by printers that they wouldn’t publish any of his books with nudity in them. Both irritated and inspired, he decided to respond to the censorship with an anthology in which all the main characters were nude.

Naked Body, published in Chinese in 2014, highlighted the humour, loopiness, horniness and astonishing breadth of the Chinese alternative comics scene. It is finally due to be published in English this year. Continue reading

Asia Pacific Perspectives 16.1

ANNOUNCING the “Fashioning Asian Identities” Issue of Asia Pacific Perspectives, Vol.16, No. 1 (2019)

The USF Center for Asia Pacific Studies announces the publication of the latest issue of its journal, Asia Pacific Perspectives. The 2019 “Fashioning Asian Identities” issue highlights dynamics and tensions around the intersections of personal expression, identity, and culture in the Asia Pacific region and beyond. John M. Skutlin explores the history of tattooing in Japan, its stigma, and how tattooees today manage their stigma. Johanna von Pezold addresses China’s rising influence in Africa through the lens of fashion exchange in Mozambique. Anne Peirson-Smith explores the increasingly popular phenomena of cosplay (costume-play), and Barbara Molony introduces us to Kyunghee Pyun and Aida Yuen Wong’s edited volume, Fashion, Identity, and Power in Modern Asia (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018). The articles are viewable now free of charge via open access at the journal’s website or by clicking on the following link: https://www.usfca.edu/center-asia-pacific/perspectives/v16n1. Continue reading

Chinese Landscape Rethought

Source: China Daily (4/2/19)
US exhibition showcases Chinese landscape art
By Luo Wangshu

[Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

An exhibition in the United States showcasing Chinese landscape art, or shanshui, is giving American viewers a taste of of traditional Chinese ink painting blended with contemporary experimental art.

The three-month exhibition, opened on Thursday and will be on view through June 9 at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum in Connecticut. At the event, 11 contemporary Chinese artists, some based in New York and some in China, including Wu Yi, Gu Wenda, Xu Bing, Zhang Hongtu, Wang Mansheng, Zheng Lianjie, Cui Fei, Guo Zhen, Mao Xiaojian, Wang Ai, and Cai Dongdong, are showcaing their approaches to Chinese landscape art. Continue reading

HK battles Beijing as dreams for culture soar

Source: Taipei Times (4/3/19)
Hong Kong battles Beijing as dreams for culture soar

Hong Kong artist Kacey Wong plays the accordion inside a red mobile prison artwork called The Patriot, a performance art project protesting against the National Anthem Law, at his studio in Hong Kong.Wong’s work is a protest in a city struggling to square its vast cultural ambitions with an increasingly assertive Beijing. Photo: AFP

At a sunny Hong Kong art studio Kacey Wong gazes out through the bars of a cage, painted communist red — his work a protest in a city struggling to square its vast cultural ambitions with an increasingly assertive Beijing.

Better known for its high-end commercial galleries — and glamorous fairs like last month’s Art Basel — Hong Kong is striving to turn itself into a cultural heavyweight through a spate of new multimillion-dollar public art spaces.

But local artists warn Beijing’s growing influence is creating a climate of fear that is stifling creativity and threatens the nascent grassroots art scene Hong Kong says it wants to enrich. Continue reading

Contemporary Chinese Landscapes exhibition


New London – Chinese Landscape Rethought, a new group exhibition opening at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum, presents a rethinking of Chinese landscape or shanshui (“mountain-water”) art through the convergence of traditional Chinese ink painting and contemporary experimental art. The exhibition will be on view March 29 through June 9, 2019. It was organized by guest curator, Dr. Yibing Huang, Associate Professor of Chinese and Curator of the Chu-Griffis Asian Art Collection at Connecticut College.

Eleven prominent contemporary Chinese artists, some based in New York and some in China, but all widely traveled and internationally exhibited, offer eclectic approaches to inheriting the rich Chinese landscape art tradition yet also disrupting its boundaries. The exhibited works vary in different styles and media including ink painting, oil painting, photography, installation, performance, and video art. In combination, the selected artists and artworks shed further light on a wide range of themes including landscape traditions in the East and West, reinvented language and abstracted nature, suppressed histories and voices, environmental crisis, dislocated cultural identities, and global contemporary art and politics.

The artists featured in Chinese Landscape Rethought are Cai Dongdong (蔡东东), Cui Fei (崔斐), Gu Wenda (谷文达), Guo Zhen (郭桢), Mao Xiaojian (毛晓剑), Wang Ai (王艾), Wang Mansheng (王满晟), Wu Yi (吴毅), Xu Bing (徐冰), Zhang Hongtu (张宏图), and Zheng Lianjie (郑连杰). Continue reading

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