“Chinese Contemporary Art 7 Things You Should Know” is a colorful overview of the history of Chinese contemporary art, beginning with the first of seven chapters: “Contemporary art in China began decades ago”. Chiu recalls some of the earliest moments in Chinese contemporary art, including the founding of avant-garde artist groups such as The Stars (whose original members include Ai Wei Wei, among others), the first exhibitions to promote the work of Chinese artists, and the evolution of gritty artist enclaves such as the “Beijing East Village”, where Zhang Huan, Rong Rong, and Ma Liuming began experimenting with provocative performance and photography.
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Chiu goes on to highlight some of the later developments in the field, including the Cynical Realism and Political Pop movements in painting, championed by artists such as Zhang Xiaogang, Fang Lijun, Yue Minjn, and Wang Guangyi. The chapter titled “Chinese contemporary art is more diverse than you might think” is illuminated with vivid images of cutting-edge contemporary art, including works by Cao Fei, Hong Hao, and Wang Jinsong. Another chapter, “Government censorship has been an influence on Chinese artists, and sometimes still is”, addresses some of the more complicated social-political issues that pertain to the lives of working artists in China. Chiu also points out the phenomenal rise in value for works of Chinese contemporary art at the international marketplace and the flourishing of new art institutions across China. The final chapter of “Chinese Contemporary Art 7 Things You Should Know” boldly states the fact that “The world is collecting Chinese contemporary art”. Each of the seven chapters reveals something distinct about this thriving field.
Chinese contemporary art has grown significantly since Chiu first took hold of the subject as a graduate student in Australia years ago. Chinese contemporary art now stands out as one of the most fascinating areas of the global art arena. Melissa Chiu discusses the artists, the collectors and dealers, the institutions, the movements, the moments, and the some of the artworks that comprise the layered and intriguing world that is now Chinese contemporary art. She addresses the breadth and complexity of this ample subject with intelligence and insight.
Melissa Chiu has a long involvement with Asian contemporary art and is recognized as a leading authority in the field. Appointed in 2004 as the Museum Director of the Asia Society, she previously served as the Society’s Curator for Contemporary Asian and Asian-American Art since 2001. Ms. Chiu was Founding Director and Vice President of the Asia-Australia Arts Center in Sydney, Australia from 1997 to 2001. Ms. Chiu serves as a member of the Academic Advisory Board, Asia Art Archives, Hong Kong, and Advisory Board, Yishu: Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art, Vancouver, and is a founding member of the Asian Contemporary Art Consortium in New York, a group serving the interests of Asian art and culture at the worlds leading museums. Chiu earned an M.A. in Arts Administration (1994) and a Ph.D. (2005) in Art History, and has produced more than 30 exhibitions of international art.