Kris Imants Ercums, Oct 5th, 3:30-4:30, CWAC 156

OCT 5th, 3:30-5:30pm, CWAC 156

Kris Imants Ercums
Curator of Global Contemporary and Asian Art
Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas
Ph.D. candidate
Department of Art History
University of Chicago

“The Battle for Art: Modeling the National Exhibition in Republican-era China, 1910-1937”
Efforts to strengthen and promote the idea of a contemporary “Chinese art world” (Zhongguo yishu jie) in the first half of the twentieth century were manifest prominently in the organization of large-scale “national art exhibition” (guanquo meishu zhanlanhui). However, the question remained: “who’s art world was it?” This paper examines the development of the national exhibition model through four key art events: The Nanyang Industrial Exposition (1910); The First Pegasus Society Exhibition (1919); The First National Exhibition of Art (1929) and the NOVA exhibition (Xin Yishu Zhan) organized by the Chinese Independent Association of Artists (1935). These exhibitions demonstrate the competitive atmosphere that emerged between “official” government-sponsored exhibitions and alternate “unofficial” artist-lead exhibitions. Through an analysis of the contextual development of these and other exhibitive models; curatorial and display strategies; this paper further illuminates the complex and varied discourse of modern art that existed in China prior to the advent of the Sino-Japanese War in 1937.


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