Art in China Now, with Melissa Chiu

NEW YORK, September 13, 2012 — Melissa Chiu, Director of Asia Society Museum and Senior Vice President for Global Arts and Cultural Programs, hosted a members-only lecture on the contemporary art scene in mainland China that ranged from its earliest stirrings just a few decades ago to its most recent developments.

Author of Chinese Contemporary Art: 7 Things You Should Know and one of the preeminent scholars in the field, Chiu outlined a historical framework for the audience using a three-tiered chronological structure between the periods 1979-1989, the 1990s to roughly 2000 (or just before China's entry into the World Trade Organization), and 2005 to the present. She explained that the Chinese contemporary art model was unique due to the fact that initial interest in the field was primarily generated outside of mainland China, a factor that allowed the field to thrive during difficult political circumstances within the country. Chiu also stressed the importance of looking further back in Chinese history to the Cultural Revolution period to gain a deeper understanding of the concepts and concerns within contemporary art created up to the millennium.

Chiu highlighted recent trends in China such as an emphasis on the genres of realist painting and traditional ink painting by both artists and collectors. Another interesting development she noted is the increasing number of both private museums and government-sponsored art institutions being created across the country. With regard to the latter, she told listeners, "There are an awful lot being built right now."

Reported by Michelle Yun

Video: Highlights from the program (5 min., 34 sec.)


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