Yishu - Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art

Yishu Journal – the March 2010 Issue Now Available

Saturday, March 13th, 2010

In Yishu, a variety of ideas weave and resonate throughout different texts in each issue. For example, in Yishu 37 we are featuring three artists with unconnected backgrounds—Zhong Biao is from mainland China and still living in China, Shen Chen is from mainland China and has been living in New York for more than two decades, and Will Kwan, an artist from a younger generation, is from Hong Kong and now living in Toronto. Zhong and Shen both explore aspects of abstraction in their work but in different ways; Zhong has recently introduced it into his primarily figurative work, while Shen has taken a consistent, calculated approach to it for years. Shen, whose work is personal and meditative, and Kwan, whose work is more research-based and conceptual, both speak of, among other things, their experience as diasporic artists, how it plays into their understanding of artistic production, and how it can be both restricting and liberating.

In 2007, Yishu published selected panel discussions from the Guggenheim Museum’s Asian Art Council. We are pleased to be publishing selections from the 2009 meetings in this issue as well as in the upcoming issue (May 2010). The panel published in this issue focuses on value—a much under-discussed idea within contemporary art—from its aesthetic, artistic, and market perspectives. While the presenters did not always address contemporary Chinese art directly, many of the issues raised affect various regions throughout Asia and are relevant within the evolution of contemporary art in China, importantly placing it in dialogue with cultures other than the West.

Aspects of curatorial practice also have a strong presence in Yishu 37. While the Asian Art Council serves as a theoretical think tank that feeds the curatorial programming at the Guggenheim, Winston Kyan’s interview with Wu Hung, an important art historian, curator, and supporter of contemporary Chinese art, brings to light the inquisitiveness and thoughtfulness that characterize Wu’s curatorial career from the 1980s to the present. Paul Gladston follows this interview with a healthy debate directed at an essay by Wu Hung included in the publication Antinomies of Art and Culture: Modernity, Postmodernity, and Contemporaneity. Discussions about curating continue with my interview with Hou Hanru and Thierry Raspail about Hou’s innovative and provocative curatorial proposition for the 2009 Biennale de Lyon; Clara Galeazzi’s review of the exhibition Emporium: A New Common Sense of Space, an unusual project that integrated the physical, psychological, and sensual space of both the gallery and the artwork; and, finally, Ellen Pearlman’s review of a new book by Huang Rui that is more visual than textual, and as much a curatorial project as it is a publication.

Keith Wallace

photo (top): Will Kwan, X-ray Yankee Zulu (WMD), 2009, neon, 3.65 x 2.43 m. Installation view at Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, Toronto, Canada. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid. Courtesy of the artist.

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