Art and China after 1989: New Perspectives


This Friday I will be presenting a talk at a symposium organised by the Guggenheim Museum NY, and the NYU Department of Media, Culture, and Communication. Unfortunately I won’t be able to deliver the talk in person but Dr. Wenny Teo, of the Courtauld Institute of Art, has kindly agreed to read the paper on my behalf. The symposium is part of a larger programme of events which will coincide with a major exhibition of contemporary art from China which is slated to open next Autumn at the Guggenheim.

The symposium features an impressive lineup of emerging scholars, curators and museum professionals and tackles issues ranging from public art in the 1990s to consumer culture in Shanghai, institutional critique to contemporary Chinese art history in a global age. My talk will focus on a series of photographic works by the artist Liu Gang 刘刚 (b. 1983) entitled ‘Paper Dreams.’ I have a chapter devoted to these works in my book manuscript, but in this talk I will be focusing specifically on their portrayal of new consumer identities and increasingly globalised patterns of consumption, examining how these developments are amplifying the exchange of visual aesthetics across national and cultural boundaries.

I have included the full symposium programme below, apparently the event is currently sold out, although it may be possible to gain entrance on the day.


An emerging scholars symposium co-organized by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the NYU Department of Media, Culture, and Communication.

**Please note: this event is SOLD OUT and we cannot take additional names. Our apologies! 

 Examining key artists, groups, and movements active across mainland China and internationally whose visual and conceptual investigations reflect particular concerns among artists during the reform era: how to forge reality free from ideology, how to establish the individual apart from the collective polity, and how to define contemporary Chinese experience in universal terms.

Generously sponsored with grants from the Kaifeng Foundation; the NYU Global Research Initiatives, Office of the Provost; and the National Endowment for the Humanities; with additional co-sponsorship from the NYU Department of Art History and NYU China House.


9:00am   Doors Open

9:30am   Welcome
Globalization and its Exceptions
Lily ChumleyAssistant Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication, NYU

9:45am   Panel 1: The Sky of Brooklyn

  • Creating A New Dialogue: Public Art in the 1990s
    Vivian Li, Curator of Asian Art, Worcester Art Museum
  • A New Look at “Chine Demain Pour Hier,” 1990
    Lesley MaCurator, Ink Art, M+, Hong Kong
  • Doubled Meanings: Reading Wang Gongxin’s The Sky of Brooklyn – Digging a Hole in China
    Katherine GrubePhD candidate, Department of East Asian Studies, NYU
  • Conceptual Photography as History: Fragmentation, Dislocation, and the Historical Imaginary in China, 1988-1998
    James PoborsaPhD candidate, Department of East Asian Studies, University of Toronto

10:45am   Discussion, moderated by Lily Chumley

11:00am   Panel 2: Critique for All

  • Circulating Critique – The Hoax, Contemporary Chinese Art and Institutional Critique in the Early 1990s
    Orianna CacchioneResearch Fellow, Modern and Contemporary East Asian Art, Art Institute of Chicago
  • Black, White, and Grey: Ai Weiwei in Beijing 1993-2003
    Stephanie TungPhD candidate, Department of Art & Archaeology, Princeton University
  • Production of Consumption: Art and Consumer Culture in Shanghai’s Supermarket
    Xiaorui ZhuCuratorial Assistant, Asian Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
  • “Post-Sense Sensibility” and “Art for Sale”: Two Exhibitions in 1999 and their Aftermath
    Lu MingjunAssociate Professor of Art History, Art College, Sichuan University

12:00pm   Discussion, moderated by Philip Tinari, Director, UCCA Beijing; co-curator, Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World 

12:15pm   Lunch Break (please note lunch is not provided)
1:15pm   Panel 3: Awkward Utopias
  • Where There are no Art Circles: The Long March as a Geography of Chinese Contemporary Art
    Timothy SheaPhD candidate, Department of Visual Arts, University of California, San Diego
  • (Re)production of Locality: Neighborhoods and Subjects of the Pearl River Delta in Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla’s Amphibious (Login-Logout) and Cao Fei’s Whose Utopia
    Yao WuJane Chace Carroll Curator of Asian Art, Smith College Museum of Art
  • Strange: Cao Fei’s Haze and Fog, 2013, and AMC’s The Walking Dead, 2010-present
    Maud LavinProfessor of Visual and Critical Studies and Art History, Theory and Criticism, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
  • Everywhere and Nowhere: ‘Paper Dreams’ and Visual Utopias in Contemporary China
    Ros HolmesJunior Research Fellow, University of Oxford
  • A Box in the Theater of the World: Privacy and Photography in China after 2008
    Wenny TeoManuela and Iwan Wirth Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Asian Art, Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London

2:30pm   Discussion, moderated by Lily Chumley

2:45pm   Coffee break

3:15pm   The State of the Field: Is Chinese Art History Global Yet?
Introduction by Alexandra Munroe, Samsung Senior Curator, Asian Art and Senor Advisor, Global Arts, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; co-curator, Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World

  • Contemporary Chinese Art History in a Global Age
    Peggy Wang, Assistant Professor of Art History and Asian Studies, Bowdoin College
  • Documentation and Exhibition-making in China during the 1980s-1990s
    Anthony Yung, Senior Researcher, Asia Art Archive

4:00pm   Keynote
Introduction by Philip Tinari

  • Pi Li, Sigg Senior Curator, Visual Art, M+, Hong Kong

4:40pm   Q&A moderated by Alexandra Munroe and Philip Tinari

5:00pm   Wine Reception