UCCA Beijing

Contemporary Arts Writing


Location:  Auditorium
Language:  Chinese & English

What kind of arts writing do we need? This December, UCCA invites Chinese artists Xiang Jing and Zhang Xiaogang and renowned art history scholar and professor Jonathan Fineberg to have a dialogue about the relationship between Chinese contemporary art and art theory. Though long considered bosom friends, these last thirty years have seen both fields undergo massive changes in relation to each other. As Chinese art critics scramble for newer and newer Western theory, Western consumers have become more and more interested in Chinese artworks. As Western art critics discover that their pre-existing frameworks are inadequate for describing Chinese artistic practice, however, some have begun to search urgently for a new path to understanding. Public understanding of art depends on the skill with which art critics interpret new artworks—what kind of arts writing is needed today?

Each of the speakers attending this talk is deeply connected with Chinese contemporary art. Jonathan Fineberg, art historian and author of Art Since 1940: Strategies of Being, will focus on problems specific to the field of Chinese art, as well as situating it in a global context. Artists Xiang Jing and Zhang Xiaogang will both relate how the thirty-year history of Chinese contemporary art has affected their lives, explaining the shift in artistic language from collectivism to individualism.



*Enjoy UCCA Member ticket prices with the purchase of a yearly membership card (RMB 300);

*Collect your ticket from reception 30 minutes before the event begins;

*Please no late entry;

*Seating is limited, and tickets must be collected individually;

*Please keep mobile devices on silent



Xiang Jing

Xiang Jing (b. 1968, Beijing) graduated from the sculpture department of the China Central Academy of Fine Arts in 1995. She lives and works in Beijing.

Xiang’s artwork grapples with the struggles of human existence under the malaise of modern society. She strives to find truth through her continued investigation of individual “interiority.” Major series include: “Mirror Image” (1999-2002), “Keep in Silence” (2003-2005), “Naked Beyond Skin” (2005-2007), “Will Things Ever Get Better?” (2009-2011), and “S” (2012-2016). In December 2017, her solo exhibition Through No One’s Eyes But My Own (Works 1995-2016) premiered at the Long Museum in Shanghai.

Jonathan Fineberg

Jonathan Fineberg is University Professor and Director of the Ph.D. program at University of the Arts in Philadelphia. He earned his B.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University, and has curated more than a dozen museum exhibitions, previously teaching at Yale and at the University of Illinois. His books include: Art Since 1940: Strategies of Being (Pearson, forthcoming from Hunan Fine Arts Press); Christo and Jeanne-Claude: On the Way to the Gates (Yale & Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY); Zhang Xiaogang: Disquieting Memories (Phaidon), etc. He is currently working on a three-volume survey on art in the twentieth century.

Zhang Xiaogang

Zhang Xiaogang (b. 1958, Yunnan province) graduated from the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute in 1982 and lives and works in Beijing. In 2007, he was appointed university professor at Sichuan Fine Arts Institute. In the beginning of the nineties, Zhang painted the Bloodline ‑ Big Family series of works, exploring the theme of “family”—immediate, extended and societal, followed by his “Amnesia and Memory” and “In-Out” series. Zhang’s tireless artistic explorations have prompted critics to dub him “a Chinese artist who actually works in his studio.”

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