Experimental Beijing

Gender and Globalization in Chinese Contemporary Art

Experimental Beijing
Book Pages: 360 Illustrations: 85 illustrations, incl. 19 in color Published: March 2018

Subjects
Art and Visual Culture > Art History, Asian Studies > East Asia, Gender and Sexuality > Feminism and Women’s Studies

During the lead-up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the censorious attitude that characterized China's post-1989 official response to contemporary art gave way to a new market-driven, culture industry valuation of art. Experimental artists who once struggled against state regulation of artistic expression found themselves being courted to advance China's international image. In Experimental Beijing Sasha Su-Ling Welland examines the interlocking power dynamics in this transformational moment and rapid rise of Chinese contemporary art into a global phenomenon. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork and experience as a videographer and curator, Welland analyzes encounters between artists, curators, officials, and urban planners as they negotiated the social role of art and built new cultural institutions. Focusing on the contradictions and exclusions that emerged, Welland traces the complex gender politics involved and shows that feminist forms of art practice hold the potential to reshape consciousness, produce a nonnormative history of Chinese contemporary art, and imagine other, more just worlds.

Praise

"In this exquisite ethnography Sasha Su-Ling Welland charts shifting debates over contemporary art as a zone of encounter. Welland evokes her own moving encounters with especially women artists who highlight the Other visions of imagined worlds that exist around the edges of 'the Chinese dream.' They are artist ethnographers who, in their fraught encounters with Western feminist artists like Judy Chicago, demonstrate how feminist art is an epistemological field of practice rather than a label for static objects. This book is one of a kind and a must-read for anyone who wants to understand not only China and contemporary art, but gendered perspectives on globalizing visions." — Lisa Rofel, author of Desiring China: Experiments in Neoliberalism, Sexuality, and Public Culture


“Sasha Su-Ling Welland has written an emotionally complex book about women who make contemporary art and their intricate, tiring, and sometimes treacherous environment. In a world of commodities, apartments, W. E. B. Du Bois icons, Ai Weiwei, and Picasso brand cars, violently gifted women manufacture disturbing political art. Intellectually compelling and cast in deceptively fluid prose, Welland's ethnography shows creative logic in the remarkable ways that a feminist critic makes a difference and women artists' choices are ungovernably complex. This is a stunning book.” — Tani E. Barlow, author of The Question of Women in Chinese Feminism


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Price: $28.95
Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Sasha Su-Ling Welland is Associate Professor of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Washington and author of A Thousand Miles of Dreams: The Journeys of Two Chinese Sisters.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Note on the Digital Companion  ix
Illustrations  xi
Acknowledgments  xv
Prologue. Worldly Fables  1
Introduction. Chinese Contemporary Art in the Expanded Field  7
Part I. Art Worldings
1. Xianfeng Beijing  43
2. Showcase Beijing  79
Part II. Zones of Encounter
3. The Besieged City  111
4. The Hinterlands of Feminist Art  135
Part III. Feminist Sight Lines
5. Red Detachment  179
6. Opening the Great Wall  206
7. Camoflaged Histories  236
Epilogue. Recursive Worldly Fables  265
Notes  275
Bibliography  305
Index  323
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper: 978-0-8223-6943-1 / Cloth: 978-0-8223-6928-8
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