Artists and Art in China Today

On June 11, Asia Society Northern California, in partnership with the Asian Art Museum, hosted the first of a two-part panel series to complement the Asian's latest exhibition, 28 Chinese. The result of more than a decade’s worth of exploration, research and collecting, this new exhibition—organized by the extraordinary Rubell Collection in Miami—presents 48 artworks from 28 contemporary Chinese artists. 

Allison Harding, guest curator of the exhibition, moderated the panel discussion which featured curator and art historian Abby Chen, artist Yan Xing and arts writer and editor Barbara Pollack. Allison Harding defined the exhibit as "a springboard into the dynamic and varied landscape of contemporary Chinese art through the work of twenty eight artists." Barbara Pollack highlighted the differences between the first generation of groundbreaking artists whose work put Chinese contemporary art on the map and the newest generation of innovators, who are more experimental, less attached to tradition and less overtly political than before. Overrall, some artists look to their roots for inspiration, while others look to today's headlines; some respond to their local surroundings, while others address the global landscape.

There is a common attitude, however, that the country's censorship is not something "worth tailoring art around." The fact that there are only two women artists represented in the exhibition brought Abby Chen to address the gender gap in China's art scene. "Feminism is a blind spot" she said and voiced the perception that women artists are not marketable and, thus, not worth investing in and showcasing. She also discussed how art nowadays provides new tools for artists to "get away from the protest label" and touched upon LGBT issues tied to the art scene in China. Yan Xing, artist featured in the exhibit, touched upon his desire to be considered as an artist per se, not tied to any specific media and not just to Chinese art.

The panel was preceded by a members-only gallery walkthrough with Lois Alpert, docent at the Museum. Our second panel discussion, China Today: Society and the Individual, will be held on July 18, 2015 at the Asian Art Museum. 

If you have not seen the exhibition yet, you can view the exhibition trailer HERE.

Didn't make it to the program? You can view the complete footage below: