Author Archive

Yishu Launch + Discussion: Special Issue on Off-site Art

Monday, September 13th, 2010

Yishu is pleased to launch the September/October 2010 issue, a special edition focussing on off-site art at Taipei Contemporary Art Centre. Editor-in-chief Keith Wallace and guest editor Lu Pei-Yi will discuss how off-site art is practised in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and mainland China.

Special Issue: Off-Site Art in Taiwan, Hong Kong and China

Date: September 8 Wed., 7:30-8:30PM

Venue: Taipei Contemporary Art Centre

Speakers: Keith Wallace, Editor-in-chief of Yishu; Lu Pei-Yi, guest editor.



I would like to take this opportunity to thank Lu Pei-Yi, guest editor of Yishu 40, who proposed developing this special issue on off-site art as it applies to Taiwan, Hong Kong, and mainland China. She has perceptively selected seven texts that explore both the differences and the parallels in off-site art in these regions, and it is clear that the projects discussed emerge from circumstances quite different from those in the West, where off-site art, or what is better known as public art, is more object-oriented and functions in most cases as a form of decoration intended to complement the urban environment. In the Chinese context, and in the texts presented in Yishu 40, there is an interest in process over product; it isn’t the physical artworks that are so important, it is the engagement with the public, especially with those perhaps less familiar with contemporary art. As Lu Pei-Yi notes in her introduction, off-site art in these three regions was formed through resistance to conservative aesthetic values and to an alignment with official state ideology; it responds to political policies, urban development, and gentrification, and explores alternatives to an overwhelmingly market-oriented art system.

photo (top): Wei-Li Yeh, Yang-Ren & Chi-Hung in THTP Garden, 2006, from the THTP Project/Phase Five/Oversight/2008, off-set print, 86 x 112 cm. Courtesy of the artist.

Yishu to Participate in ShContemporary, September 9-12, 2010

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

Yishu is pleased to participate in ShContemporary.


The fourth edition of China’s most dynamic art fair will take place from September 9th to 12th at the Shanghai Exhibition Centre. Galleries from Asia, Europe and the US will gather in Shanghai to show their work in the Best of Galleries section.

Discoveries: Re-Value
A thematic exhibition that highlights the confrontation between different ideas of artistic and commercial value. Curators Mami Kataoka, Manray Hsu, and Fair Director Colin Chinnery, have selected work that explores different attitudes towards money, the dichotomy between craftsmanship and the conceptual, and the notion of ‘contemporary’ from different cultural perspectives. This will be an exhibition that asks questions about the way we see and consume contemporary art – to question the nature of the art market within its own commercial context.

Asia Pacific Collector Development Program (CDP)
CDP was initiated in 2009 by ShContemporary to support and inspire an increasing number of new Chinese collectors. CDP operates with partner institutions year-round projects such as the CDP Art Tours to cities around the world, and creates educational resources for emerging collectors both on and off-line. On the occasion of ShContemporary, CDP has extended an invitation to hundreds of international collectors and will be hosting events throughout the fair days. Visit for more details.

Institutional Collections Forum
Curator and critic Hou Hanru is organizing in co-operation with ShContemporary a special conference entitled “Collecting Asian Contemporary Art: What, When and How?” which examines the future of Asian contemporary art collections in major institutions around the world. The conference will be held on September 9thand includes a panel of top professionals such as the Director of the Musée National de l’Art Modern at Centre Georges Pompidou, Alfred Pacquement; the Deputy Director of MoMA in New York, Kathy Halbreich, Chinese collector Guan Yi and many others.

Beyond the Fair
As China’s largest annual contemporary art event, Shanghai comes alive with special exhibitions and festivities during ShContemporary. During the fair there will be exhibitions in Shanghai by Zeng Fanzhi, Feng Mengbo, Yang Fudong, MadeIn, Yang Zhenzhong, and others, plus thematic shows of Korean, German, and Middle East contemporary art in galleries and museums around town. Two new contemporary art museums have been inaugurated this year alone, with a third to be opened during ShContemporary.

In a larger cultural context, the most ambitious World Expo in history will be open to visitors during ShContemporary. A spectacle of epic proportions, the World Expo provides an opportunity to capture different national, cultural, and corporate visions for the future from a myriad of perspectives.

Dates and Times
Preview (by invitation only): September 8, 5-7PM
Vernissage (by invitation only): September 8, 7– 10PM
VIP days: 9th and 10th September, 11AM – 6PM
Public days: September 11, 11am – 6PM and September 12, 11AM – 5PM

Press Contacts

Press Office – Asia
Sophie Wang

Press Office – Europe, Americas, Middle East
Eva Altosaar

Yishu Awards for Critical Writing on Contemporary Chinese Art

Friday, August 13th, 2010

Yishu: Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art is pleased to announce the recipients of the Inaugural Yishu Awards for Critical Writing on Contemporary Chinese Art. Two jurors each made an independent selection: Britta Erickson, scholar of Chinese art, selected Maya Kóvskaya; and Gao Minglu, curator and critic of contemporary Chinese art, selected Sheng Wei. The awards carry a value of $5,000 CAD each, and each of the recipients will have a text published in the November/December 2010 issue of Yishu. The Yishu Awards for Critical Writing on Contemporary Chinese Art were established to encourage and recognize writers who are making an outstanding contribution to understanding the history and current issues of contemporary Chinese art.

Maya Kóvskaya is a curator, writer, and independent scholar on contemporary art. In 2009, she received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. She moved to Beijing in 1996 and in 2009 established a second home base in New Delhi. She has curated exhibitions of contemporary Chinese art in Beijing, New Delhi, Houston, Los Angeles, Berkeley, and Toronto. Her writing has appeared in Art Review, Yishu: Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art, Art iT, Flash Art, Eyemazing, and positions: east asia cultures critique. Erickson says of Kóvskaya, “Connecting with the underground music and art scene after her arrival in Beijing, Maya Kóvskaya has since emerged as a critic and curator passionately engaged with contemporary Chinese art. While she knows critical theory, she resists the easy allure of flaunting such knowledge for its own sake, applying it in the service of an enhanced understanding of works of art.”

Sheng Wei was born in Chongqing and received his B.A. in art history from the Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts, his M.A. in critical art history and theory from Tsinghua University, and his Ph.D. in Western modern art study from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. Now he is engaged in the artistic study, criticism, and curatorship of modern/contemporary art in both China and the West. He was the editor-in-chief of Art Exit and Muse Art successively and was awarded the Wang Senran Art History Award in 2009. Gao comments, “Sheng Wei is a young critic who has emerged in the past few years, and has been quick to comprehend the contemporary art scene. With a profound knowledge of art history and theory, Sheng has become among the best young critics.”

The award ceremony will take place at the Xi’an Art Museum in Xi’an, China on September 10, 2010, and will be followed by two panel discussions:


Venue: Xi’an Art Museum, Shaanxi, China
Date: September 10th, 2010

First Panel: What Is Critical Art Writing Today?
Moderator: Keith Wallace, Editor-in-Chief,
Yishu: Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art, Vancouver
Panelists: Murtaza Vali, Critic and Art Historian, Sharjah/Brooklyn
Britta Erickson, Curator and Critic, Palo Alto
Ken Lum, Artist and Professor, Vancouver
Maya Kóvskaya, Curator and Critic, New Delhi/Beijing

Second Panel: Critical Art Writing from a Local Perspective
Moderator: Gao Minglu, Curator and Critic, University of Pittsburgh, Beijing/Pittsburgh
Panelists: Yan Shanchun, Director, Shenzhen Painting Academy, Shenzhen
Jason Chia Chi Wang, Curator and Critic, Taipei
Carol Yinghua Lu, Curator and Critic, Beijing
Sheng Wei, Curator and Critic, Beijing/Chongqing

The event is open to public. Please contact Echo Zheng at Xi’an Art Museum for more information or to reserve a seat.

Support for the awards is courtesy of the Canadian Foundation for Asian Art, Stephanie Holmquist and Mark Allison, and Xi’an Art Museum, Shaanxi, China.

Yishu Journal – the July 2010 Issue Now Available

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

Beijing and Shanghai are generally considered the primary centres for contemporary art in mainland China. But there are other cities that have dynamic and distinctive art scenes. Guangzhou is one of them. Several of China’s most significant contemporary artists have emerged from there, but many of them have moved to Beijing, leaving behind something of a cultural void. Yishu 39 includes three texts covering a generation of younger artists and initiatives that are bringing about a renewed interest in this city and region and who are making art that is different from that found further north.

One current that runs through Yishu 39 is of what represents “Chineseness” in contemporary art, a question that is unlikely to reach resolution anytime soon. It is the primary subject of J. P. Park’s essay, in which the more obvious and expected manifestations of what constitutes Chineseness are taken to task with the suggestion that the notion’s parameters require rethinking. Tianyue Jiang’s text on the important Chinese modernist, Lin Fengmian, takes a more historical perspective by examining the influence of Cubism and the inherent Chineseness that remains embedded in his work in spite of his employment of a Western stylistic genre. Natasha Degan’s review of an exhibition by Zhang Enli discusses his recent paintings of mundane objects and scenes that can be found most anywhere in the world and argues that because of their universal iconography, there is nothing recognizably Chinese about his work.

Gu Wenda and Zhang Huan are featured with new work that provides us with an update on two leading artists who are realizing increasingly ambitious projects. Beatrice Leanza and Micki McCoy, with their reviews of two very different kinds of exhibitions, one in Beijing and one in San Francisco, one contemporary and one historical, bring into consideration how curatorial strategies affect the conception and reception of group exhibitions. In November of 2009, the Contemporary Art Academy of China was inaugurated, and many are curious to know more about it and what it means; Christina Yu offers a text on the debates that have emerged around it during the past few months and the impact the Academy may have on contemporary art in China.

Keith Wallace

photo (top): Gu Wenda, china park. it is not just green china, it is china green. Courtesy of the artist.

Yishu at Art Basel, Switzerland, June 16-20

Sunday, June 13th, 2010

Yishu is pleased to announce its continued participation in the 41st edition of Art Basel, which opens from June 16-20, 2010.


In effort to provide timely information about the Chinese art scene, Yishu will distribute at the fair our annual supplement—Yishu Contemporary Chinese Art Guide. As in previous editions, we have collaborated with RedBox Studio in Beijing to produce our pocket-sized supplement. This year we have collected insights from writers in Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong, to provide on the ground reports of the different local art scenes in China. Our special focus sections voice the opinions of critics and curators on the state of the art scene in Hong Kong, and provide a perspective on the philosophical intent behind artistic production by the Chinese artist, Zhong Biao.

We sincerely hope you enjoy this supplement to Yishu: Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art and we are delighted to share our enthusiasm for contemporary Chinese art with you.


At the fair, we are also going to launch as our virtual platform for providing immediate access to an authoritative forum for discussion on contemporary Chinese art.

Please come to say hello at Halle 2.0 / Stand Z17. See you there!


The world’s premier international art show for Modern and contemporary works, Art Basel features nearly 300 leading galleries from North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa. More than 2,500 artists, ranging from the great masters of Modern art to the latest generation of emerging stars, are represented in the show’s multiple sections. The exhibition includes the highest-quality paintings, sculptures, drawings, installations, photographs, video and editioned works.

Open to Public: June 16-20, 2010

Venue: Halls 1 and 2 of Messe Basel,
Messeplatz, 4005 Basel, Switzerland

Yishu at ArtHK, May 27-30, 2010

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Yishu is pleased to announce its participation at the 3rd edition of ArtHK from May 27-30, 2010.

In effort to provide timely information about the Chinese art scene, Yishu will distribute at the fair our annual supplement—Yishu Contemporary Chinese Art Guide.

In its fifth edition, our 2010 Contemporary Chinese Art Guide continues to be a comprehensive resource for art venues and international events promoting visual arts in and from China. The diversity of China’s art scene is evident in the range of venues and organizations presenting contemporary Chinese art and providing insight to the increasingly global/sophisticated art community both in China and abroad.

As in previous editions, we have collaborated with RedBox Studio in Beijing to produce our pocket-sized supplement. This year we have collected insights from writers in Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong, to provide on the ground reports of the different local art scenes in China. Our special focus sections voice the opinions of critics and curators on the state of the art scene in Hong Kong, and provide a perspective on the philosophical intent behind artistic production by the Chinese artist, Zhong Biao.

We sincerely hope you enjoy this supplement to Yishu: Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art and we are delighted to share our enthusiasm for contemporary Chinese art with you. This summer, we are going to launch as our virtual platform for providing immediate access to an authoritative forum for discussion on contemporary Chinese art.

Thank you for your support, and please visit us at booth no. MED 11.

Yishu Events: Film Screening & Panel Discussion

Sunday, May 2nd, 2010

Yishu Journal of Contemporary Art, in partnership with Emily Carr University, is pleased to invite you to the screening of a documentary From Jean-Paul Sartre to Teresa Teng: Contemporary Chinese art in the 1980s.

The 1980s was a seminal period in the history of contemporary art in China. However, the contribution and experimentalism of the art scene in South China, particularly in Guangzhou and Shenzhen, have generally been overlooked. But due in part to the proximity of Hong Kong, western ideas from translated books and articles as well as popular culture in the form of TV shows and Canto pop, flooded over the border to Guangdong at the end of the Cultural Revolution. This influx of new ideas and popular culture sparked great excitement, debate and experimentation in the arts. Based on primary research, rare film footage and personal interviews with key artists, this documentary bears witness not only to the reading fever that gripped the Chinese art world in the 1980s. It also highlights the experimentalism and verve of artists and critics in South China whose contributions to the development of contemporary art have been long lasting and deep.

Interviewees (in alphabetical order):

Shaoxiong CHEN(陳劭雄), Tong CHEN(陳侗), Jianjin DENG(鄧箭今), Yuan FENG(馮遠), Hanru HOU(侯瀚如), Xiaopeng HUANG(黃小鵬), Zhengtian LI(李正天), Yilin LIN(林一林), Hong SHAO(邵宏), Huangsheng WANG(王璜生), Du WANG(王度), Tan XU(徐坦), Xiaoyan YANG(楊小彥), Jiechang YANG(楊詰蒼)

Produced by: Asia Art Archive (Jane DeBevoise, Claire Hsu, Phoebe Wong, Anthony Yung)

Date: Tuesday May 25, 2010, 6PM to 8:20PM
Venue: Emily Carr University, Room 301
1399 Johnston Street, Granville Island.


6pm | Film Screening
“From Jean-Paul Sartre to Teresa Teng: Contemporary Chinese art in the 1980s.”

6:50pm | Panel Discussion
Jane DeBevoise , Chair, Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong /New York (Producer of the film) & Lin Yilin, Artist, Beijing / New York Moderator: Keith Wallace, Editor-in chief, Yishu: Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art

7:50pm – 8:20pm
Reception, beverages and snacks


JANE DEBEVOISE is an independent advisor and art historian, based in Hong Kong and New York. Prior to moving to Hong Kong in 2002, Ms. DeBevoise was Deputy Director of the Guggenheim Museum, responsible for museum operations and exhibitions globally. She joined the Museum in 1996 as Project Director of China: 5000 Years, a blockbuster exhibition of traditional and modern Chinese art that was presented in 1998 at the Guggenheim museums in New York and Bilbao. Prior to 1996, Ms. DeBevoise was Managing Director at Bankers Trust Company where she worked for 14 years in New York, Hong Kong, Tokyo and London. Ms. DeBevoise has a BA degree from Tufts University, an MA degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and a PhD from The University of Hong Kong. Ms. DeBevoise was appointed by the Home Affairs Bureau of the Hong Kong Government to the Committee for Museums 2004-2007 and to the Museums Advisory Group for the development of the West Kowloon Cultural District 2006 – 2007. She is Chair of the Board of Directors of Asia Art Archive in Hong Kong, and a Trustee of Asian Cultural Council and The China Institute in New York.

LIN YILIN is an artist who lives and works in New York and Beijing. He was born in Guangzhou, China and studied at the Sculpture Department, Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts from 1983 to 1987. He was a co-founder of “Big-Tail-Elephant Group” in 1990. His recent solo exhibitions include Big Family: Brothers, Not Comrades (Arrow Factory, Beijing, 2009); Target, (Tang Contemporary Art, Beijing, 2008); A Spatio-temporal Tunnel, (Shanghai Gallery of Art, Shanghai, 2008) and Zero Interface: Brave New World, (Vitamin Creative Space, Guangzhou, 2007). His works were also included in the 10th Biennale de Lyon, (Lyon Museum of Contemporary Art, Lyon, France, 2009); Documenta 12, (Kassel, Germany,2007); the 50th Venice Biennale, (Venice, Italy, 2003); Big Tail Elephant, (Kunsthalle, Bern, Switzerland, 1998); Cities on the Move, (Vereinigung bildender Kunstler Wiener Secession, Austria, 1997); China Avant-Garde, (Haus der Kulture der Welt, Berlin, Germany, 1993) and the Exhibition of Big Tail Elephant Group, (Guangzhou No.1 Worker’s Palace, Guangzhou, China, 1991).


KEITH WALLACE has been a curator of contemporary art since 1979. From 1991 to 2001 he was Curator, then Director/Curator, of the Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver, where he developed a program of regional, national, and international exhibitions. He is currently an independent curator and has organized exhibitions for the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; The Power Plant, Toronto; Centre A, Vancouver; and the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, University of British Columbia. In 2004 he organized InFest: International Artist Run Culture, which brought together two hundred and fifty artists and administrators from twenty five countries. Since 2004, Wallace has been Editor of Yishu.

This project is made possible by the generous support of:

The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation
W.L.S. Spencer Foundation
Ilyas and Mara Khan
Foundation for Arts Initiatives


Yishu has been a leading journal in the coverage of contemporary Chinese art and culture since 2002. Each bi-monthly issue presents scholarly and topical essays by the most knowledgeable writers in the field of Chinese art. Cultural commentary, featured artists, interviews, conference proceedings, and exhibition reviews provide a stimulating forum for dialogue and debate around the most important issues affecting contemporary Chinese culture and its position in the world today.

Yishu Journal – the May 2010 Issue Now Available

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

Yishu 38 opens with three texts featuring women artists who represent different generations, who come from different backgrounds, and whose work differs stylistically. Yet each artist alludes in her work to issues of gender and the social restrictions faced by women, both historically and currently, within Chinese society. In an interesting complement to these texts, Zheng Shengtian writes on Qi Zhilong, a male artist, and the disconcerting play in his work between the aesthetic and social representation of women during the Cultural Revolution and in today’s popular culture.

We also present the second of two panel discussions (the previous published in Yishu 37) from the Guggenheim Museum’s Asian Art Council meetings in June of 2009. This panel focuses on a discussion about the evolution of modernity in the context of Asia. Geeta Kapur from India, Midori Matsui from Japan, and Xu Bing from mainland China propose thoughtful and timely perspectives on how modernity is inflected in their respective nations’ cultural production and how it adopts its own identities within each context. Related to this is a growing interest in examining the history of contemporary Chinese art, especially considering a history that represents just over thirty years of activity. The summary of the conference Negotiating Difference: Contemporary Chinese Art in the Global Context brings forward several important issues, among them the kinds of methodologies that are employed in the analysis of contemporary Chinese art from an academic perspective as well as the practical perspective of those actively working in the field, and the challenges and benefits of both. We conclude this issue of Yishu with the second part of Paul Gladston’s examination of contemporaneity and the specifics of its manifestation in the context of China. He offers a considered deliberation on the ideas of art historian and curator Gao Minglu’s analysis of the different trajectories that exist between an Eastern conception of modernism and a Western one.

Yishu will be hosting booths at the Hong Kong International Art Fair from May 27 to 30 and at Art 41 Basel from June 16 to 20. Please come and visit us.

Keith Wallace

photo (top): Cui Xiuwen, Existential Emptiness No. 2 (detail), 2009, photograph, 78 x 500 cm. Courtesy of the artist.

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.