Yishu 68 is devoted to a meeting of the Guggenheim Museum’s Asian Art Council that was held in Bangkok, Thailand from September 24 to 28, 2014. This is not the first time we have covered a meeting of this group. We also presented its discussions in 2008 (May/June, July/August, September/October) and in 2010 (March/April, May June).
Each time this group meets, with a shifting cast of characters, it covers a number of areas that provide the Guggenheim Museum with a forum for discussion of how to consider the development and evolution of their programming with respect to Asian art. This is, in a sense, an innovative and even provocative way to begin a process of thinking about exhibition making—to pose questions that open up discussion and debate that can in turn serve as a barometer of contemporary issues, art-related and otherwise, derived from a diversity of points of view.
The discussions featured in Yishu 68 focus primarily on the context of China—”China and the World,” “The 1955 Bandung Conference: Alternative Postwar Histories,” and “Decentering China”—but in a broader context that also weaves in the geopolitical realms of Thailand, Indonesia, India, and Japan, among others, and thus provides new ways of considering China within a global context. This kind of discussion, often frank in content, is important in breaking down monolithic assumptions about what contemporary art is in China and simultaneously makes room for new or dormant narratives that have tended to be overlooked in constructions of contemporary history.
I would like to thank Alexandra Munroe, the Samsung Senior Curator, Asian Art, and Senior Advisor, Gobal Arts, at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, for collaborating with Yishu on this special issue of the journal, and Xiaorui Zhu, who has been a liaison between Yishu and the Guggenheim Museum concerning the logistical aspects of this publication. Also, thanks are extended to all the participants in the conference for their contributions to this stimulating discussion.
Image (top): Sign at the border between Hong Kong and mainland China, 1970s. Courtesy of Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong.