Title

Locating Chinese Contemporary Art: Ai Weiwei in Walla Walla

Abstract

In the summer of 2015, a series of artworks by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei arrived in Walla Walla. Almost simultaneously, Ai was given several of his first solo exhibitions in China. While Ai Weiwei has received critical and popular acclaim in the United States and Europe, his work remains at the fringe of China's art scene. This disjuncture signals larger problems surrounding international and domestic perceptions of contemporary Chinese art. My presentation considers the relationships and institutions that allow Ai's art tostand for contemporary art in China, particularly though not exclusively in the United States. Ai's dominance in Western discussions of Chinese contemporary art suggests an attraction to Chinese artists and artwork that confirm the cultural and political superiority of Western liberal democracies.

Faculty Sponsor

Lisa Uddin

Sponsor Department/Programs

Art History and Visual Culture Studies

Tracks

Art and Interpretation

Location

Kimball Theatre

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

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Apr 12th, 2:15 PM Apr 12th, 2:30 PM

Locating Chinese Contemporary Art: Ai Weiwei in Walla Walla

Kimball Theatre

In the summer of 2015, a series of artworks by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei arrived in Walla Walla. Almost simultaneously, Ai was given several of his first solo exhibitions in China. While Ai Weiwei has received critical and popular acclaim in the United States and Europe, his work remains at the fringe of China's art scene. This disjuncture signals larger problems surrounding international and domestic perceptions of contemporary Chinese art. My presentation considers the relationships and institutions that allow Ai's art tostand for contemporary art in China, particularly though not exclusively in the United States. Ai's dominance in Western discussions of Chinese contemporary art suggests an attraction to Chinese artists and artwork that confirm the cultural and political superiority of Western liberal democracies.