Sooa Im McCormick, June 2

Speaker: Sooa Im McCormick (Curator of Korean Art, Cleveland Museum)

Korean Paper, a Trendy Item in Late Ming Literati Circle

Discussant: Yoon-Jee Choi (PhD student, Department of Art History)

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2021
4:45 – 6:45 pm CST, Zoom meeting (please find the registration link below)



Any wars result in, not to mention significant loss of life, economic destruction, and human dislocation, but also opportunities for unexpected cultural and material transfers. Korean papers of variety including Mirror Surface Paper 鏡面紙, White Silky Paper 白綿紙 were among stable tributary gifts to the Ming imperial court, but during the Japanese invasion (1592-1598) they were increasingly demanded than before. These imported Korean papers were not exclusively used in the imperial court, but soon gained a new life as a trendy commodity when it entered the circle of leading literati artists such as Dong Qichang.

By locating Korean paper in the material world of late Ming-period literati artists, this research attempts to uncover how gift-exchange in a tributary system between China and Korea fashioned new artistic identities of Korean paper, to examine what materialistic features of Korean paper led late Ming artists to involve it in their artistic endeavors, such as the case of Dong Qichang’s River and Mountains on a Clear Autumn Day 江山秋霽圖 in the collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art, and finally to highlight the role of Korean imports in Chinese visual and material culture.
Dong Qichang 董其昌, River and Mountains on a Clear Autumn Day 江山秋霽圖 (1624–27), Handscroll: Ink on Korean paper, Painting only: 38.4 x 136.8 cm, The Cleveland Museum of Art.


Zoom Registration Link:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting (Recently, Zoom confirmations also tend to be categorized as Spam. Please also check your spam box for the confirmation email.).




Dr. Sooa Im McCormick is Curator of Korean Art at the Cleveland Museum of Art. She holds a PhD from the University of Kansas and a Master’s degree from Rutgers University. Recently, she curated the exhibitions Interpretation of Materiality: Gold (4/30/2021-10/24/2021), as well as Gold Needles: Korean Embroidery Arts (3/8/2020-10/25/2020). While pursuing her curatorial career, Dr. McCormick remains active as a cutting-edge scholar. Her publications include “Re-Reading the Imagery of Tilling and Weaving of Eighteenth-Century Korean Genre Painting in the Context of the Little Ice Age,” in Anthology of Mountains and Rivers (without) End: Eco-Art History in Asia (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2019) and “The Politics of Frugality: Environmental Crisis and Eighteenth-Century Korean Visual Culture,” in Forces of Nature (Cornell University Press, 2022).


Yoon-Jee Choi is a PhD student whose research revolves around material culture and inter-regional influence within East Asian art history, particularly concentrating on the latter half of Joseon Dynasty and modern Korean art history. She received her BA in Division of International Studies and History of Art from Ewha Womans University. She has completed her coursework for her MA in History of Art and is currently working on her thesis on Korean monkey paintings during the late Joseon Dynasty. She has interned for the National Museum of Korea and worked as a research assistant for the Asian Museum Institute in Seoul. Her current interests lie in Korean paintings that reflect diverse foreign interactions during the late 19th century.

RAVE + VMPEA | QP Symposium Part One and Two: May 12 and 19

Speakers (PhD Students, Art History Department):

Part One (May 12th, 2021):

Jenny Harris, “Worlds of Wire: Ruth Asawa’s Sculpture” (4:45 – 5:15 PM)

Li Jiang, “Replicating Death: The Gold Funerary Mask of Princess of the State of Chen (1018)” (5:15 – 5:45 PM)

Stephanie Strother, “‘Fashionable Things’: The Designs and Designers of the Atelier Martine” (5:45 – 6:15 PM)

*Overall discussion is from 6:15 – 6:45 PM

Wednesday, May 12th, 2021

4:45 – 6:45 pm CST, Zoom Registration Link (resister here)


Part Two (May 19th, 2021):

Lucien Sun, “A Print in Flux: Rethinking the Print of Guan Yu from Khara-Khoto” (4:45 – 5:15 PM)

Lex Ladge, “Hieronian Impositions: Space and Policy in 3rd Century BCE Syracuse” (5:15 – 5:45 PM)

Adriana Obiols Roca, “Mesótica II: Central American Art After ‘Latin America’” (5:45 – 6:15 PM)

* Overall discussion is from 6:15 – 6:45 PM

Wednesday, May 19th, 2021

4:45 – 6:45 pm CST, Zoom Registration Link (resister here)


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting (Recently, Zoom confirmations also tend to be categorized as Spam. Please also check your spam box for the confirmation email.).



Jenny Harris is a Ph.D. student focusing on 20th-century art. Her research interests include performance, intersections of dance and visual arts, and the status of decoration and craft in postwar American art. Prior to arriving at the University, she worked in The Museum of Modern Art’s Department of Painting and Sculpture where most recently she participated in the reinstallation of the collection galleries and co-organized the exhibition The Shape of Shape, Artist’s Choice: Amy Sillman (2019, with Michelle Kuo). She has also contributed to the exhibitions The Long Run (2017-18), Robert Rauschenberg: Among Friends (2017), and One-Way Ticket: Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series and Other Visions of the Great Movement North (2015). Jenny graduated from Wellesley College with a B.A. in Art History in 2012.

Li Jiang is a Ph.D. student of East Asian art history, focusing primarily on funerary art in ancient and early medieval China. Li Jiang received her MA from the University of Chicago in 2018. Her thesis examined the fragments of a lacquer screen from an elite burial of the Northern Wei dynasty. Her current research involves the material cultural and inter-regional issues in northeast Asian tomb arts from the fourth to seventh centuries.

Stephanie Strother is a Ph.D. student focusing on art of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Her research interests include the relationship between art and craft at the turn of the century, popular reception and consumption, and global circuits of visual and material culture. She earned a BA from Carleton College in 2010 and an MA from the Courtauld Institute of Art in 2017. From 2017 to 2019 she was the Lunder Consortium for Whistler Studies Graduate Fellow at the Art Institute of Chicago. In this role she authored curatorial entries and an essay for a digital catalogue on the museum’s collection of paintings and drawings by James McNeill Whistler, which was published in 2020.

Lucien Sun is a Ph.D. student of East Asian visual and material culture at the University of Chicago. His current research interests lie broadly in Chinese art from the tenth to seventeenth century, especially the visual and material culture in northern China during the Jin–Yuan periods and its exchange with Central and West Asia. He recently co-wrote with the COSI Rhoades Curatorial Intern Yang Zhiyan a blog article for the Art Institute of Chicago titled “A Seamless Painting Simply Does Not Exist” that demonstrates how paper seams of a Yuan dynasty handscroll may shed new light on the painting’s composition, material medium, and conservation history. He has also written about images of filial piety stories at tombs in north China during the Yuan period. He received his BA at Fudan University, Shanghai.

Lex Ladge is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Art History. She studies Greek and Roman art and architecture, with a focus on urbanism and spatial experiences in the Hellenistic and Imperial Roman periods.

Adriana Obiols Roca is a Ph.D. student studying modern art of Latin America. Her research focuses on Central American art from the second half of the twentieth century. Adriana holds an MA in art history from Tulane University (2019) and a BA in English Literature from Swarthmore College (2016). Her MA thesis, “‘Para el ala y para el vuelo’: Photography and Nation in Revista Alero”, centered on the interaction between photography and student nationalism in 1970s Guatemala.

Boyoung Chang, APR 9

Speaker: Boyoung Chang (Postdoctoral Fellow East Asian Art, Department of Art History

Faraway, so close: North Korea in Contemporary Visual Culture

Discussant: Saena Ryu Dozier (Recent graduate; PhD in Asian Literatures, Cultures, and Media; University of Minnesota, Twin Cities)

Friday, April 9th, 2021

4:45 – 6:45 pm CST, Zoom meeting (please find the registration link below)



What is the perception of North Korea of the rest of the world and how has it been mediated through visual arts? Are there alternative ways to represent the country without othering it? This research problematizes the stereotyped representations of North Korea and suggests alternative ways to understand North Korea through the visual arts. The national division caused two Koreas to show different paths to development, and the North has been isolated as one of the few communist countries in the world. With the demise of the international Cold War, it has been further stigmatized and ridiculed, mostly in the West. Either they satirize the dictatorial rule of North Korea or supposedly ‘look into’ the hermit kingdom, I argue, what the images of North Korea eventually reveal is the inaccessibility to the country. On the contrary to the assumption of providing a penetrating view of the country, this paper also discusses, some contemporary Korean artists bring the impossibility of fully experiencing the other Korea to the fore and visualize the mediated experience of the country. By incorporating their proxy experience of the North, their works anchor North Korea in history and in relation to South Korea, instead of accentuating its otherness and isolation from the rest of the world.

João Rocha, Kim Jong-Il Looking at Things (2010-)


Zoom Registration Link:


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting (Recently, Zoom confirmations also tend to be categorized as Spam. Please also check your spam box for the confirmation email.).



Dr. Boyoung Chang is a postdoctoral researcher in the Center of the Art of East Asia in the Department of Art History at The University of Chicago. Her research focuses on contemporary Korean photography. She is interested in how the history of Korean photography intertwines with the nation’s dynamic modern and contemporary history. Her research interests also include several topics in global photography and contemporary Asian art, such as the aftermath of World War II, the ramification of the cold war, globalization, and cultural identity.

Chang has published such articles as “Post-Trauma: How contemporary Korean photography reconstructs political history of Korea” in the Korean Bulletin of Art History and is now working on a book project that addresses the history of Korean photography from the mid-20th century to the present day, with a particular interest in the socio-political landscapes around artistic productions.


Dr. Saena Dozier received her PhD in Asian Literatures, Cultures, and Media from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities in 2020.  She was a Korea Foundation research fellow and a Diversity Predoctoral teaching fellow at the University of Minnesota, Duluth.  Dr. Dozier’s expertise is in Korean culture and media with an emphasis on Korean cinema.

She published “Coming Home: Finding Our Space of Innocence Through Sagŭk Films” in the International Journal of Korean History. Her upcoming article “Ever-Evolving Nostalgia: A Quest for Innocence in Sagŭk Films” will appear on Écrans de nostalgie, Special Issue of Cinémas.

Melissa McCormick, MAR 12

Speaker: Professor Melissa McCormick (Professor of Japanese Art and Culture, Harvard University)

Calligraphy and Haptic Poetics in the Art of Ōtagaki Rengetsu”

Discussant: Professor Chelsea Foxwell (Associate Professor of Art History and the College, The University of Chicago)

Friday, March 12th, 2021

4:45 – 6:45 pm CST, Zoom meeting (please find the registration link below)



The early modern Japanese nun-artist, Ōtagaki Rengetsu (1791-1875), left nearly one thousand waka poems, a number multiplied by their repeated inscription on all manner of surfaces, from pottery to poem sheets to hanging scrolls with accompanying paintings. This vast body of poetic work speaks to Rengetsu’s use of the ancient thirty-one syllable form as her primary mode of creative expression and intellectual ordering of the world. The vitality and social immediacy of the nun’s poetry open up onto a vibrant world of waka, and its theorization in the Tokugawa period, countering notions of waka’s stagnation since the medieval period, when it gave way to forms such as renga, and subsequently haikai in the early modern era. Although Rengetsu left no poetic treatises or theoretical texts of her own, her vast oeuvre of verses and inscribed art works in their totality amount to a waka poetics of practice that rewards analysis for its richness and complexity of allusion, subject position, and medium specificity.

This talk offers a meditation on the embodied qualities of Rengetsu’s work, from her use of a subject position in which the presence of the poet seems to dominate, to the haptic presentation of her waka calligraphy incised into her pottery. It then turns to an analysis of one of Rengetsu’s most famous poems, instantiated in word and image, to show the multiplicity of poetic subject positions she employs, as well as, ultimately, an embodied self rhetorically undermined.



Zoom Registration Link:


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting (Recently, Zoom confirmations also tend to be categorized as Spam. Please also check your spam box for the confirmation email.). This talk will possibly be recorded.



Professor Melissa McCormick is the Professor of Japanese Art and Culture at Harvard University, earned her B.A. from the University of Michigan (1990) and her Ph.D. in Japanese Art History from Princeton University (2000). Before moving to Harvard, she was the Atsumi Assistant Professor of Japanese Art at Columbia University (2000-05) in the Department of Art History and Archaeology. Much of her research focuses on the relationship of art and literature, as well as forms of visual storytelling, and their integration with social and intellectual history. Her first book, Tosa Mitsunobu and the Small Scroll in Medieval Japan (University of Washington, 2009), argued for the emergence of a new picto-literary genre around the fifteenth century, and it used a methodology of envisioning the intellectual horizons of real or hypothetical viewers in the circle of the artist Tosa Mitsunobu and the scholar-courtier Sanjōnishi Sanetaka.

Several articles reconstruct the interpretive communities of female readers, writers, and artists in the late medieval period by focusing on ink-line (hakubyō) narrative paintings, which Professor McCormick argues, functioned as an alternative space for creative expression from a female gendered subject position. Her ongoing work on the eleventh-century narrative The Tale of Genji has resulted in over a dozen publications in both English and Japanese. Her research on the Genji Album in the Harvard Art Museums was featured on an NHK documentary (2008), and became the basis for her book, The Tale of Genji: A Visual Companion (Princeton University Press, 2018), which provides fifty-four essays on each chapter of the tale. In 2019 she guest curated the international loan exhibition The Tale of Genji: A Japanese Classic Illuminated, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.


Professor Chelsea Foxwell is the Associate Professor of Art History and the College at The University of Chicago. Her scholarship ranges from the medieval through modern periods of Japanese art with special emphasis on the 19th and 20th centuries. She is the author of Making Modern Japanese-Style Painting: Kano Hōgai and the Search for Images (2015). In 2012 she co-curated the exhibition Awash in Color: French and Japanese Prints with Anne Leonard at the Smart Museum of Art.

Her work focuses on Japan’s artistic interactions with the rest of East Asia and beyond, nihonga and yōga (Japanese oil painting); “export art” and the world’s fairs; practices of image circulation, exhibition, and display; and the relationship between image-making and the kabuki theater.

A member of the Committee on Japanese Studies and the Center for the Art of East Asia, she is a contributor to the Digital Scrolling Paintings and the Reading Kuzushiji projects.

Sophia Walker, FEB 24

Speaker: Sophia Walker (PhD student, Joint program: Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations and Department of Cinema and Media Studies)

Hunnu Rock: Mongolian Metal and a Global Folk Metal Subculture”

Discussant: Ethan Waddell (PhD student, Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations)

Wednesday, Feb 24th, 2021
4:45 – 6:45 pm CST, Zoom meeting (please find the registration link below)



“Wolf Totem,” Mongolian heavy metal band The Hu’s second single, was posted to Youtube on November 16, 2018. Despite the band’s newcomer status, the video was an immediate international hit, and by January of 2019 had already accrued an impressive 7 million views and a fervent international fan base. The Hu’s debut album, The Gereg, opened at the top of Billboard’s Top New Artist chart and second place on the UK’s Rock & Metal album chart. In this paper, I will apply Dick Hebidge’s theory of subculture and style to the English-language reception of The Hu’s viral hit. I will apply this framework against Edward Said’s theory of the “Oriental Other” to argue that The Hu’s English-language fan base offers a mode of resistance against Western narratives of East Asia.

My argument has two strands: first, I will discuss The Hu’s reception in English-language media. Second, I will compare this reception to The Hu’s popularity among heavy metal listeners, particularly fans of the folk metal genre, by examining Spotify data, Youtube comments, and Facebook fan communities. Through these endeavors, I will sketch out the English-language folk metal subcultural terrain to point toward a rejection of these hegemonic narratives about not only the west/east binary but national/cultural boundaries themselves in favor of a unified aesthetic—or “style.” This is an ongoing project, so I will be presenting my findings thus far and pointing toward avenues of future research.


Zoom Registration Link:


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting (Recently, Zoom confirmations also tend to be categorized as Spam. Please also check your spam box for the confirmation email.). This talk will be recorded.



Sophia Walker is a PhD student in the joint-degree program in the departments of East Asian Languages and Civilizations and Cinema and Media studies, focusing on Japan. She is interested in the intersections between local, national, and trans-national medias and audiences; representations of the supernatural and the ghostly in cinema and new media; and, very broadly, the representation and reinterpretation of history onscreen.


Ethan Waddell is a PhD student in East Asian Languages & Civilizations. His research is in modern Korean literature. Currently, he is interested in relationships between genres and cultures of writing and music.

Maya Stiller, Jan 13

Speaker: Professor Maya Stiller (Associate Professor of Korean Art and Visual Culture, The University of Kansas)

Elite Graffiti, Kinship, and Social Capital: Pilgrimages to Kŭmgangsan in Pre-1900 Korea

Discussant: Zhenru Zhou (PhD candidate, Department of Art History)

Wednesday, January 13th, 2021

4:45-6:45 pm, Zoom meeting (please find the registration link below)



In this talk Professor Stiller will preview her forthcoming book, Carving Status at Kŭmgangsan: Elite Graffiti in Premodern Korea, which establishes the importance of site-specific visual and material culture as an index of social memory construction. Stiller argues for an expansion of accepted historical narratives on travel and mountain space in pre-modern East Asia. Rather than studying Asian pilgrimage routes as strictly religious or tourist, in the case of Kŭmgangsan, they were also a method of constructing social memory. Kŭmgangsan is one of the most prominent sacred mountains in Korea. Embarking on a journey to Kŭmgangsan to view and contribute to its sites of memory was an endeavor that every late Chosŏn (ca. 1598-1910 C.E.) Korean hoped to achieve in their lives. Carving Status is the first historical study in a Western language to examine this practice. Specifically, this book uses a combination of disciplinary approaches from art history, literature, and social history to analyze autographic inscriptions and to argue that Kŭmgangsan’s Buddhist monasteries, pavilions, and waterfalls became not just venerated cultural sites but also locations for claiming permanent elite social memory. The growing number of carved inscriptions over time also shows intense social competition. Thus Stiller shows that, unlike other sacred mountains in Asia, Kŭmgangsan was not just a destination for religious pilgrims and tourists, but an important site of social engineering.


Zoom Registration Link:


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. Furthermore, this talk will be recorded.



Professor Maya Stiller teaches Korean art history at the University of Kansas. She was born and raised in West-Berlin, Germany, and has lived and worked across Europe, East Asia, and the United States. With a double major in Korean Studies and Art History, she spent several years living in Korea and Japan, followed by a doctorate in East Asian Art History from Freie Universität Berlin. She came to the United States in 2008 to study Korean Buddhism and received a Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies and Korean History from UCLA in 2014. Her peer-reviewed journal articles have been published in the Journal of Asian Studies, the Journal of Korean Religions, and Cahiers d’Extreme-Asie. Her book Carving Status at Kŭmgangsan: Elite Graffiti in Premodern Korea is forthcoming with University of Washington Press.


Zhenru Zhou is a PhD candidate in the Department of Art History, the University of Chicago. She studies religious art and architecture in China and along the Silk Routes, with a focus on the medieval Buddhist cave-temples in Northern China. Her dissertation project explores the complexity of cave architecture in the tenth-century Dunhuang.

Winter 2021 Schedule

Dear friends and colleagues,


We are excited to share our Winter quarter calendar! In keeping with the university’s mandate to contain the spread of COVID-19, we will continue to conduct the workshop remotely for the entirety of the Winter quarter. Unless otherwise noted, all VMPEA meetings will take place on Wednesdays at 4:45 pm to 6:45 pm (CST) via Zoom. The individual meeting link will be sent out along with detailed talk abstract via VMPEA and related listservs approximately one week prior to the talk for registration. Below is our schedule for the quarter:


Attributed to Qu Ding (Chinese, active ca. 1023–ca. 1056), Summer Mountains, Handscroll; ink and color on silk, 1050, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.


Winter Quarter (2020 – 2021)

(4:45 pm – 6:45 pm every Wednesday or Friday)


Jan 13

Speaker: Maya Stiller (Associate Professor of Korean Art and Visual Culture, The University of Kansas)

Discussant: Zhenru Zhou (PhD candidate, Department of Art History)

Title: Elite Graffiti, Kinship, and Social Capital: Pilgrimages to Kŭmgangsan in Pre-1900 Korea


Jan 27

Speaker: Cybele Tom (PhD student, Department of Art History)

Discussant: Alice Casalini (PhD student, Department of Art History)

Tentative Title: Seeking Balance: Material and Meaning in a Polychrome Guanyin


Feb 10

Speaker: Meng Zhao (PhD candidate, Department of Art History)

Discussant: Tingting Xu (Lecturer in Art History, Columbia University)

Tentative Title: Crafting Sensuality: Tactual Erotics In Court Ladies Adorning Their Hair with Flowers


Feb 24

Speaker: Sophia Walker (PhD student, Joint program: Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations and Department of Cinema and Media Studies)

Discussant: Ethan Waddell (PhD student, Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations)

Tentative Title: Hunnu Rock: Mongolian Metal and a Global Folk Metal Subculture


Mar 12 (Friday)

Speaker: Melissa McCormick (Professor of Japanese Art and Culture, Harvard University)

Discussant: Chelsea Foxwell (Associate Professor of Art History and the College, Department of Art History)

Title: Calligraphy and Haptic Poetics in the Art of Ōtagaki Rengetsu


We are looking forward to seeing you via Zoom! Please direct questions and inquiries to Minori Egashira ( and Yifan Zou (


Minori and Yifan

VMPEA Graduate Student Coordinators 2020-21

Or Porath, DEC 2

Speaker: Or Porath (Post-Doctoral Researcher Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations)

Japan’s Forgotten God: Jūzenji in Literature and the Visual Arts

Discussant: Ian Cipperly (PhD student, Department of History)

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020

4:45-6:45 pm, Zoom meeting (please find the registration link below)

* Collaboration with the APEA (Art and Politics of East Asia)



The paper will explore the deity Jūzenji 十禅師 of the Sannō pantheon of Hie Shrine in Shiga prefecture. Lost during the separation of Buddhism and Shinto in the Meiji period, Juzenji’s medieval importance has been all but forgotten. Through the examination of textual and visual evidence, the paper will argue that powerful and influential people, such as the Tendai monk Jien (1155-1225) and the chroniclers lineage (kike) of Mt. Hiei, decided to actively promote Jūzenji for their own ends, and in effect, elevated him to the status of supreme divinity, rivaling his own godhead. The paper will show that while it is often assumed Shinto doxa and praxis were entirely subsumed under Buddhist hegemony, it is possible to detect non-Buddhist tendencies becoming increasingly dominant in medieval Japanese religion—as demonstrated by doctrinal articulations that centered on the forgotten god Jūzenji. The cult’s elevation of Jūzenji as part of its kami-centrism can be seen as an assertion of Shinto innovation—which opened new ways for thinking about kami.


Zoom Registration Link:


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. Furthermore, this talk will be recorded.


Or Porath is a scholar of Buddhist studies with broad interests in East Asian religions, the history of gender and sexuality, and monasticism. Porath specializes in the religions of Japan, specifically the influential school of Tendai Buddhism, its doctrines and practices, and the intersection between the Buddhist worldviews and issues of gender and sexuality. His current book project, The Dharma of Sex: Initiation and Deification in Japanese Religion, examines the “consecration of acolytes” (chigo kanjō), a sexual initiation that was doctrinally sanctioned in orthodox Buddhist teachings. Porath investigates in his work how male-male sexual acts were sanctified and grounded in Tendai doctrinal concepts, and the manner in which they shed light on the Buddhist assimilation of local forms of worship including Shinto.


He is the author of “The Cosmology of Male-Male Love in Medieval Japan: Nyakudō no Kanjinchō and the Way of Youths,” in Journal of Religion in Japan (2015), the article “Nasty Boys or Obedient Children? Childhood and Relative Autonomy in Medieval Japanese Pedagogical Texts,” in Child’s Play: Multi-sensory Histories of Children and Childhood in Japan (2017), and “Sexuality” in The Bloomsbury Handbook of Japanese Religions (2021).


Ian Blaise Cipperly is a PhD student in the University of Chicago History department. He received his BA with High Honors from The University of California at Berkeley in 2011 and his MA from The Department of History at The University of Oregon in 2016. This year, he acted as panel organizer for the 49th Meeting of the Southwest Conference on Asian Studies “Profane voices in Sacred Discourse: Re-centering the Periphery Through the Materiality of Religious Traditions of East Asia,” where he presented his paper “Contradictions in ordering the Sacred: The Entropy of Numinous Authority in Early Modern Japanese Festivals.” Additionally, he presented his individual paper “Ordering the Sacred: Numinous Authority in Early Modern Japanese Festivals” at the 69th Midwest Conference on Asian Affairs. While his main interests are in Japanese history (Azuchi-Momoyama and Edo period Japan (1568-1868)), he also has an interest in early modern formulations of Tendai through his research on Tōshōgū and Tokugawa Ieyasu. For more information regarding Ian and his academic interests, please refer to his department’s website ( and his CV.

Alan Longino, NOV 18

Speaker: Alan Longino (PhD student, Department of Art History)

Yutaka Matsuzawa and Looking Around Quantum Art

Discussant: Orianna Cacchione (Curator of Global Contemporary Art, Smart Museum of Art)

Wednesday, November 18th 2020

4:45-6:45 pm, Zoom meeting (please find the registration link below)



Yutaka Matsuzawa (b. 1922 / d. 2006, Shimo Suwa) is considered a leading figure in postwar Japanese conceptual art. In 1988, he published his seminal Quantum Art Manifesto, considered as the most mature realization of his decades-long dedication and practice to the immaterial and invisible realm of images. In this talk, I look at both this manifesto and select works of the artist’s career that led to the culmination of the manifesto. I analyze these not only as a guide in understanding the practice of Matsuzawa but more as a primer for considering a world of images removed from the physical and temporal limitations of artistic practice. I apply this consideration to the content of our current and future world of increasingly high image and information saturation, and draw—like Matsuzawa—from sources as diverse as ethology, quantum physics and computing, and economics to highlight this relationship of Quantum Art to the experience of images today. In particular, this talk gives due credence to the legibility of memes and their data, the online communities which create them, and the complex relationships between identity, spirituality, and economics that they pursue, critique, and build anew. Towards the end, I return to Matsuzawa’s Quantum Art with the realization and hypothesis that art and the images produced today are, like the quantum state itself, thick with uncertainty in their form and that their existence is—to use a term shared by Matsuzawa and the founder of modern computer, Alan Turing—“telepathic” in nature. Finally, after considering the quantum state these telepathic images exist in, I bring up the issue that correlation may equal causation if we are to seriously consider the future of images and the manner in which their surplus information is
being conducted and manipulated.


Gradient of FFCAD4

Gradient of FFCAD4


Zoom Registration Link:


Alan Longino is a Ph.D. student studying postwar Japanese conceptual art and global contemporary art. His research considers a telepathic & post-verity mode of communication between information systems and image production. Previously, he co-curated the exhibition, Yutaka Matsuzawa, at Yale Union (2019, with Reiko Tomii), and re-published the artist’s 1988 manuscript, Quantum Art Manifesto, for the first time outside of Japan. He has contributed writing towards essay and exhibition texts for artists, museums, and galleries, and criticism of his has appeared in HeichiArtforum, and the Haunt Journal of Art, UC Irvine. Alongside his academic research, Alan was a founding member of Wendy’s Subway, a library, writing space, and independent publisher in Brooklyn, NY, and has worked in galleries such as Jan Kaps, Cologne, and Miguel Abreu Gallery, New York.


Orianna Cacchione is currently the Curator of Global Contemporary Art at the Smart Museum of Art. Her curatorial practice is committed to expanding the canon of contemporary art to respond to the global circulations of art and ideas. At the Smart Museum, Cacchione has curated the exhibitions, The Allure of Matter: Material Art from China (with Wu Hung), which interrogated how materiality informs contemporary Chinese art; Samson Young: Silver moon or golden star, which will you buy of me?, the first solo exhibition of the Hong Kong-based sound artist in the United States; and Tang Chang: The Painting that Is Painted with Poetry Is Profoundly Beautiful, the first solo presentation of the pioneering abstract artist’s work outside of Thailand. She is currently developing an exhibition that considers Transpacific artistic exchanges, as well as editing a new volume with Professor Wei-Cheng Lin: The Allure of Matter: Materiality across Chinese Art. Prior to joining the Smart Museum, Cacchione was Curatorial Fellow for East Asian Contemporary Art in the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Art Institute of Chicago, where she was responsible for expanding the museum’s collection of contemporary art from East Asia. Her work led to transformative acquisitions of artworks from China, Japan, South Korea, and Thailand. She also curated the exhibition, Zhang Peili: Record. Repeat., the first major presentation of the Chinese video artist at an American museum.


Cacchione’s scholarly research explores the transnational, cross-geographic flows of art and art history that characterize the global art world. She holds a PhD in Art History, Theory, and Criticism from the University of California, San Diego, a MA from Goldsmiths College and a BA from the University of Michigan. Her writing has been published in The Journal of Art HistoriographyYishu, and the Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art.

Nancy P. Lin, OCT 21

Speaker: Nancy P. Lin (PhD candidate, Department of Art History)

Sites at the Periphery: Performance, Photography, and the Making of Beijing’s ‘East Village’(selection from dissertation chapter)

Discussant: Madeline Eschenburg (Lecturer, College of Arts and Sciences, Washburn University)

Wednesday, October 21st 2020

4:45-6:45 pm, Zoom meeting (please find the registration link below)



The development of experimental contemporary Chinese art outside the official support of government institutions in the 1990s has often been described as “underground” (dixia) or “independent” (duli). Yet I suggest that the term “peripheral” (bianyuan) is a much more apt description as it simultaneously refers to the very spaces in which art has flourished in the physical city and the spatial dynamics of experimental art’s alternative positioning. During a period of massive urban reconstruction, artists living and working in the city’s urban fringes struggled with spatial precarity and social/economic marginality. These sites and living conditions also gave rise to new types of artistic projects, spaces, and a distinctly new artistic identity. This paper explores how collaborations between performance and photographic activities by a group of artists living in Beijing’s “East Village” drew upon the area’s spatial marginality to construct an alternative artistic identity and social network that transformed the run-down village into an art world site. These activities in the mid-1990s will be contextualized within the broader phenomenon of site-based art practices that participated in the creation of new social and institutional spaces for contemporary art in China. This period of artistic activities at the periphery serves as a case study for understanding the complex dynamic between artistic practice, social change, and urban transformation.

RongRong, East Village Beijing, 1994 No. 1, 1994, Gelatin silver print, 20 × 24 in (50.8 × 61 cm)

Zoom Registration Link:


Nancy P. Lin is a PhD candidate specializing in modern and contemporary Chinese art and architecture. She received her B.A. summa cum laude in History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University. Her dissertation, titled “Making Spaces: Site-based Practice in Contemporary Chinese Art, 1990s-2000s,” focuses on the intersection of art and urbanism in examining locally situated, yet globally oriented spatial and site-specific artistic practices in China. As the 2019-2020 Andrew W. Mellon Graduate Curatorial Intern at the Smart Museum of Art, she worked extensively on the exhibition Allure of Matter: Material Art from China. From 2017 to 2018, she was a fellow of the Mellon Sawyer Seminar on Urban Art and Urban Form, co-organizing three interdisciplinary symposia that brought together artists, architects, and urban scholars from the sciences and the humanities. She received the 2015 Schiff Foundation Writing Fellowship and, together with fellow collaborators, was a recipient of the 2016 Graham Foundation project grant for the independent publication Building Subjects (Standpunkte, 2019), a study on collective housing in China. Her other publications include an article in the edited volume Visual Arts, Representations and Interventions in Contemporary China: Urbanized Interfaces (Amsterdam University Press, 2018) and a forthcoming article in the Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art (Intellect, Winter 2020).

Her work has been generously supported by The Getty Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Schiff Foundation, Graham Foundation, as well as the Art History Department and the Center for East Asian Studies at the University of Chicago.


Madeline Eschenburg is a lecturer at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. She specializes in contemporary Chinese art with a focus on performance and Social Practice art. She has published articles and book chapters about Chinese performance art and its relationship to documentary practice in the 1990s and early 21st century. She is currently working on a book project which explores the history of contemporary Chinese artists’ inclusion of marginalized communities in performance art and Social Practice projects. She will be presenting a paper titled “Mapping Marginality: Chinese Migrant Workers at the Venice Biennial” at the 2021 College Art Association annual conference.