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Art and Nation: Chinese Art to now

Art and Nation: Chinese Art to now


Saturday, 19 November 2011, 1.15pm – 4.15pm
Bookings essential as numbers are strictly limited
Email or phone (02) 6208 5021
Visions theatre, National Museum of Australia

Presented in partnership with the Australian Centre on China in the World, Australian National University


Explore the role of art in Chinese society at this half-day conference. Key topics will include the relationship between art and the state in the period since 1949, and reformist and revolutionary transformations in artistic practice.

Introduction: Andrew Sayers, Director, National Museum of Australia and Geremie R Barmé, Director, Australian Centre on China in the World, ANU.

Session 1: Continuing dilemmas of realism in post 1949 painting, John Clark

Session 2: Art in the Mao era – China and world culture, Liu Xin

Afternoon tea will be provided

Session 3: Reformist and revolutionary transformations in Chinese artistic practice featuring Geremie R Barmé (an overview of the period), Shen Jiawei (Journeyman: From the first iconic portrait to the last image of the Forbidden City), Claire Roberts (Chinese modernisms and the problem of ink) and Philip Tinari (Sunday afternoon in the youth park: Irony in Chinese art, 1990s - present).


Professor Geremie R Barmé

Geremie R Barmé is an historian, cultural critic, filmmaker, translator and web-journal editor who works on Chinese cultural and intellectual history from the early modern period (1600s) to the present. He is the founding director of the Australian Centre on China in the World in the College of Asia & the Pacific, The Australian National University, where he also edits the online e-journal China Heritage Quarterly ( He is presently working with the oral historian Sang Ye on a book entitled 'Inside the Rings of Beijing: China's Global Aura', a monograph related to 'Dream of the Red Chamber' and Qing history in modern China, and a study of the Garden of Perfect Brightness (Yuanming Yuan). His latest book is The Forbidden City (London: Profile Books and Harvard University Press, 2008).

Professor John Clark, FAHA, CIHA, PhD

John Clark is Professor of Asian Art History at the University of Sydney, where he is an Australian Research Council Professorial Fellow working on 'The Asian Modern'. He was founding director of the Australian Centre for Asian Art & Archaeology from 2006-2009. Among his books are 'Modern Asian Art' (Honolulu, University of Hawai'i Press, 1998), the co-edited 'Eye of the Beholder' (Sydney, Wild Peony, 2006), 'Modernities of Chinese Art' (Leiden, Brill 2010) and 'Asian Modernities: Chinese and Thai Art in the 1980s and 1990s' (Sydney, Power Publications 2010).

Professor LIU Xin

Liu Xin was born in 1960 in Guangxi. Upon graduating from the College of Fine Arts, Guangxi Art Institute in 1986 with a major in engraving, Liu Xin was employed as a teacher at his alma mater. From 1989 to 1990, he studied art history at the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, focusing his research on the history of contemporary Chinese art. After returning to the Guangxi Art Institute, Mr Liu taught art history until 1997. During that time, he was also editor-in-chief of the journal Arts Exploration (Yishu tansuo) and published An Illustrated History of Oil Painting in China in the Last Hundred Years (Zhongguo youhua bainian tushi), which was nominated for the Publishers Association of China's 3rd Annual Book Award. After 1997, Mr Liu worked for the Guangxi Fine Arts Publishing House and authored books such as Oil Painting in China in the Last Hundred Years (Zhongguo youhua bainian tuxiang), Book Covers (Shuxiang jiuying) and Fifty Years of Guangxi Fine Arts (Guangxi meishu wushinian). In 2005, he returned to the Guangxi Art Institute to establish the Art History Department. He was Professor and Chair of the Department and later became the Associate Dean of the Institute. His recent works include A Guide to Writing Fine Arts Dissertations (Meishuxue biye lunwen xiezuo jiaocheng) and 'Selected Papers on History of Art in 20th Century China' (Ershi shiji zhongguo meishushi conggao) (forthcoming).

Mr SHEN Jiawei

Born in Shanghai in 1948, Shen Jiawei is largely a self-taught artist. His work became well known in China in the mid 1970s and features prominently in the art history of the 'Cultural Revolution' period. Shen Jiawei has exhibited widely and hiswork has been included in exhibitions of Chinese art at the Guggenheim Museum (1998), Asia Society Museum (2008), and in many other museums and galleries in the United States, Europe, Australia and China. From 1982 to 1984 he studied advance courses at the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, and worked as a professional artist in the Liaoning Art Studio from 1981 to 1988. He won prestigious Chinese National Art Prizes on five occasions. Shen Jiawei came to Australia in 1989 and has worked as a full-time artist in Sydney since then. He was a finalist in the Archibald Prize on 12 occasions, and runner-up once. He was awarded the Mary MacKillop Art Award in 1995 and Sir John Sulman Prize in 2006. Official portrait commissions include Princess Mary of Denmark and former Prime Minister John Howard, for the National Portrait Gallery and Parliament House, Canberra, respectively. His works are held in many public collections including the National Museum of China, the National Art Museum of China, and other museums and galleries in the United States, Australia, China, and elsewhere.

Dr Claire Roberts

Claire Roberts is a historian of Chinese art and a curator. She is a Visiting Fellow at the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific at The Australian National University. She was a Co-ordinate Research Scholar at the Harvard-Yenching Institute, Harvard University 2011; Research Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard 2009-2010, and Senior Curator of Asian arts at the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney 1988-2010. Claire studied at the Beijing Foreign Languages Institute 1978-79 and the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing 1979-81. She has a Master of Arts from the University of Melbourne. Her PhD, undertaken at ANU, focused on the work of modern Chinese brush-and-ink painter Huang Binhong (1865-1955). Claire has published widely on Chinese visual and material culture, and curated numerous exhibitions including PostMao Product: New Art from China (1992). She was curatorial adviser on Chinese art for the Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, in 1993, 1996 and 1999. Her most recent publications are Friendship in Art: Fou Lei and Huang Binhong (2010), Other Histories: Guan Wei's Fable for a Contemporary World (2008) and The Great Wall of China (2006). Her forthcoming book is titled 'Photography and China'.

Mr Philip Tinari

Philip Tinari is incoming director of the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing, China's leading independent museum of contemporary art, effective December 1. There he will oversee a wide range of exhibitions, publications, and programs aimed at the UCCA's international public of more than half a million visitors annually. Since 2010 he has served as founding editor-in-chief of LEAP, the international art magazine of contemporary China, with which he will retain an advisory role. Tinari is also a contributing editor to Artforum and adjunct professor at the China Central Academy of Fine Arts, where he teaches art criticism. He formerly worked as China representative to the international art fair Art Basel and academic consultant to the Chinese contemporary art department at Sotheby's. He has written and lectured widely on contemporary art in China, for publications including Artforum, Parkett, The Wall Street Journal, Tate Etc., The New York Times Magazine and Yishu. A resident of Beijing for much of the past decade, he speaks fluent Mandarin. Tinari holds an AM in East Asian studies from Harvard, a BA from the Literature Program at Duke, and was Fulbright fellow at Peking University.