The Traditionality and Contemporaneity of Chinese Art | Lecture Report

In October 2018, Stephen Little, Head of Chinese, Korean, and South & Southeast Asian Departments at LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art), Yin Jinan, Dean of School of Humanities at CAFA, Professor Ye Jianqing of Department of Mural Painting, CAFA and American artist Michael Cherney gathered at CAFA Art Museum for a symposium titled “Traditionality and Contemporaneity of Chinese Art”, sharing insights on the theme from the perspectives of curator, scholar and artist.

The discussions began with Mr. Little’s speech. Growing up in Indonesia, Cambodia and Burma, Mr. Little is closely connected to Southeast and South Asian art, which are strongly influenced by Indian and Chinese cultures; he officially became interested in studying Chinese art in college, when he saw Southern Song Dynasty painter Muqi Fachang’s work in a Japanese art course. Mr. Little has been working at LACMA since 2011, and curated several exhibitions on ancient or contemporary Chinese art since then, including an exhibition of Chinese art collected in Japan (2014); an exhibition that focuses on Wu Bin’s Ten Views of a Lingbi Stone, one of the best Chinese paintings Mr. Little claimed to have ever seen. LACMA is also preparing for the largest overseas exhibition of Ming Dynasty painter Qiu Ying to date, which will open in 2020.

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Stephen Little, Head of Chinese, Korean, and South & Southeast Asian Departments at LACMA; Florence and Harry Sloan Curator of Chinese Art

Mr. Little pointed out critically that US art museums lack collections of Chinese art created around 19th century to early 20th century, namely modern Chinese art. It is a bridge that connects ancient and contemporary Chinese art, and an important transitional phase to study in order to understand Chinese art, thus LACMA is striving to collect works from this time period. With a donation of around 400 contemporary Chinese artworks, including over 300 ink and wash paintings, from a Geneva-based French collector in 2017-2018, LACMA became the biggest collection of contemporary Chinese art in the US overnight. LACMA has cooperated with Yuz Museum in Shanghai on one of Los Angeles’ largest contemporary Chinese art exhibitions scheduled to open in June 2019. It also plans to hold an exhibition on Buddhist art in China, which is based on their established collection of Buddhist art around Asia.

LACMA’s goal is to build closer relationship with China, and raise a great number of questions that could inspire further studies. Mr. Little values the act of asking questions, even more than answering them, as they stand for the discovery of usually neglected knowledge and information.

Following Mr. Little’s speech, Professor Yin Jinan shared his perspectives on the construction of Chinese art history. Drawing inspirations from his past as a student of the Department of Archaeology at Peking University, he discovered two routes of Chinese art: one resembles archaeological research, updating itself according to new materials and issues in art; the other is generated from traditional painting and calligraphy history, which seems to have grown out of line from the early art history.

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Yin Jinan, Dean of School of Humanities at CAFA; renowned art history scholar, contemporary art critic and ancient Chinese painting and calligraphy connoisseur

The structure of Chinese art history was basically completed in the Republic of China period. After Reform and Opening Up in 1979, more individual case studies emerged, with methodologies of western tradition largely applied. It was after the New Millennium that Chinese academic world began to create their own methods, and gradually have the ability to exchange ideas with western scholars.

On the difference between Chinese and westerners in how to see Chinese art, Mr. Little further highlighted the decisive difference in cultural background - China has a writing system that continued for over 2,000 years, and the Chinese are good at writing biographies - it would be very challenging for Americans to view history and time in the same way as Chinese people.

The difficulties of exhibiting traditional art and contemporary art together

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Presenter: Dai Yifan, CEO of Wonderka Art Management, New York

Answering the question of “what are the difficulties of exhibiting traditional art and contemporary art in the same space”, Prof. Yin said a bad exhibition would look like the Panjiayuan Antique Market, yet a good exhibition would resemble a theater, because “theater is a modern soul in ancient dress, going through ancient settings and props”. “I find it acceptable to make it an interesting theater that is neither ancient nor modern…even this is difficult.”

Mr. Little agreed that it’s quite a challenging work, especially for researchers and curators who are unfamiliar with Chinese contemporary art due to the distance, despite their talent. Yet they are aware that it’s important to keep up with while keeping a certain distance from the trends. As a museum researcher, a key to his/her work is to know what to communicate with visitors essentially, and why putting contemporary artworks in an exhibition.

Art practices under globalization

The third part of the symposium is centered around artists’ practices in a globalizing world. Upon facing an increasingly diversified audience group, should the artists stick to their original pursuits, or change according to the trend?

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Michael Cherney, American photographer and artist

Michael Cherney, an American artist whose photography usually record Chinese landscape in a style of ancient Chinese painting, disapproved paying too much attention to the audience, as the market could hugely impact artists’ perspectives and practices. He emphasized the importance of patience in studying cultures with a long history. The utterly important and challenging thing is for people after many generations to understand the context of the work.

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Ye Jianqing, Associate Professor at Department of Mural Painting, CAFA

Associate Prof. Ye Jianqing, whose work created with a contemporary art approach usually express the atmosphere of ancient painting and calligraphy, said that modern China is a photographic world, with life environment and knowledge structure greatly westernized. In an age that images are increasingly convenient, simple and crude, and cheap, we might consider applying traditional Chinese art approaches, such as the “Qi” in Chinese painting, to make the simple images more complex.


Time: October 9, 2018

Venue: Lecture Hall, CAFA Art Museum

Presenter: Dai Yifan, CEO of Wonderka Art Management, New York

Speakers: Stephen Little, Head of Chinese, Korean, and South & Southeast Asian Departments at LACMA; Florence and Harry Sloan Curator of Chinese Art

Yin Jinan, Dean of School of Humanities at CAFA; renowned art history scholar, contemporary art critic and ancient Chinese painting and calligraphy connoisseur

Guests: 

Ye Jianqing, Associate Professor at Department of Mural Painting, CAFA

Michael Cherney, American photographer and artist

 

Lecture Photos

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Written by Lu Yufan based on the symposium’s Chinese record


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I fully agree to CAFA Art Museum (CAFAM) submitting to CAFA for publication the images, pictures, texts, writings, and event products (such as works created during participation in workshops) related to me from my participation in public events (including museum member events) organized by the CAFA Art Museum Public Education Department. CAFA can publish these materials by electronic, web, or other digital means, and I hereby agree to be included in the China Knowledge Resource Bank, the CAFA Database, the CAFA Art Museum Database, and related data, documentation, and filing institutions and platforms. Regarding their use in CAFA and dissemination on the internet, I agree to make use of these rights according to the stated Rules.

CAFA Art Museum Event Safety Disclaimer

Article I

This event was organized on the principles of fairness, impartiality, and voluntary participation and withdrawal. Participants undertake all risk and liability for themselves. All events have risks, and participants must be aware of the risks related to their chosen event.

Article II

Event participants must abide by the laws and regulations of the People’s Republic of China, as well as moral and ethical norms. All participants must demonstrate good character, respect for others, friendship, and a willingness to help others.

Article III

Event participants should be adults (people 18 years or older with full civil legal capacity). Underage persons must be accompanied by an adult.

Article IV

Event participants undertake all liability for their personal safety during the event, and event participants are encouraged to purchase personal safety insurance. Should an accident occur during an event, persons not involved in the accident and the museum do not undertake any liability for the accident, but both have the obligation to provide assistance. Event participants should actively organize and implement rescue efforts, but do not undertake any legal or economic liability for the accident itself. The museum does not undertake civil or joint liability for the personal safety of event participants.

Article V

During the event, event participants should respect the order of the museum event and ensure the safety of the museum site, the artworks in displays, exhibitions, and collections, and the derived products. If an event causes any degree of loss or damage to the museum site, space, artworks, or derived products due to an individual, persons not involved in the accident and the museum do not undertake any liability for losses. The event participant must negotiate and provide compensation according to the relevant legal statutes and museum rules. The museum may sue for legal and financial liability.

Article VI

Event participants will participate in the event under the guidance of museum staff and event leaders or instructors and must correctly use the painting tools, materials, equipment, and/or facilities provided for the event. If a participant causes injury or harm to him/herself or others while using the painting tools, materials, equipment, and/or facilities, or causes the damage or destruction of the tools, materials, equipment, and/or facilities, the event participant must undertake all related liability and provide compensation for the financial losses. Persons not involved in the accident and the museum do not undertake any liability for personal accidents.

CAFA Art Museum Portraiture Rights Licensing Agreement

According to The Advertising Law of the People’s Republic of China, The General Principles of the Civil Law of the People’s Republic of China, and The Provisional Opinions of the Supreme People’s Court on Some Issues Related to the Full Implementation of the General Principles of the Civil Law of the People’s Republic of China, and upon friendly negotiation, Party A and Party B have arrived at the following agreement regarding the use of works bearing Party A’s image in order to clarify the rights and obligations of the portrait licenser (Party A) and the user (Party B):

I. General Provisions

(1) Party A is the portraiture rights holder in this agreement. Party A voluntarily licenses its portraiture rights to Party B for the purposes stipulated in this agreement and permitted by law.

(2) Party B (CAFA Art Museum) is a specialized, international modern art museum. CAFA Art Museum keeps pace with the times, and works to create an open, free, and academic space and atmosphere for positive interaction with groups, corporations, institutions, artists, and visitors. With CAFA’s academic research as a foundation, the museum plans multi-disciplinary exhibitions, conferences, and public education events with participants from around the world, providing a platform for exchange, learning, and exhibition for CAFA’s students and instructors, artists from around the world, and the general public. As a public institution, the primary purposes of CAFA Art Museum’s public education events are academic and beneficial to society.

(3) Party B will photograph all CAFA Public Education Department events for Party A.

II. Content, Forms of Use, and Geographical Scope of Use

(1) Content. The content of images taken by Party B bearing Party A’s likeness include: ① CAFA Art Museum ② CAFA campus ③ All events planned or executed by the CAFAM Public Education Department.

(2) Forms of Use. For use in CAFA’s publications, products with CDs, and promotional materials.

(3) Geographical Scope of Use

The applicable geographic scope is global.

The media in which the portraiture may be used encompasses any media that does not infringe upon Party A’s portraiture rights (e.g., magazines and the internet).

III. Term of Portraiture Rights Use

Use in perpetuity.

IV. Licensing Fees

The fees for images bearing Party A’s likeness will be undertaken by Party B.

After completion, Party B does not need to pay any fees to Party A for images bearing Party A’s likeness.

Additional Terms

(1) All matters not discussed in this agreement shall be resolved through friendly negotiation between both parties. Both parties may then sign a supplementary agreement, provided it does not violate any laws or regulations.

(2) This agreement comes into effect on the date that it is signed (sealed) and the relevant boxes are selected by Party A and Party B.

(3) This agreement exists in paper and electronic forms. The paper form is made in duplicate, with Party A and Party B each retaining one copy with the same legal efficacy.

Event participants implicitly accept and undertake all the obligations stated in this agreement. Those who do not consent will be seen as abandoning the right to participate in this event. Before participating in this event, please speak to your family members to obtain their consent and inform them of this disclaimer. After participants sign/check the required box, participants and their families will be seen as having read and agreed to these terms.

I have carefully read and agree to the above provisions.

Group Visit Agreement
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CAFA Art Museum Publication Authorization Agreement

I fully agree to CAFA Art Museum (CAFAM) submitting to CAFA for publication the images, pictures, texts, writings, and event products (such as works created during participation in workshops) related to me from my participation in public events (including museum member events) organized by the CAFA Art Museum Public Education Department. CAFA can publish these materials by electronic, web, or other digital means, and I hereby agree to be included in the China Knowledge Resource Bank, the CAFA Database, the CAFA Art Museum Database, and related data, documentation, and filing institutions and platforms. Regarding their use in CAFA and dissemination on the internet, I agree to make use of these rights according to the stated Rules.

CAFA Art Museum Event Safety Disclaimer

Article I

This event was organized on the principles of fairness, impartiality, and voluntary participation and withdrawal. Participants undertake all risk and liability for themselves. All events have risks, and participants must be aware of the risks related to their chosen event.

Article II

Event participants must abide by the laws and regulations of the People’s Republic of China, as well as moral and ethical norms. All participants must demonstrate good character, respect for others, friendship, and a willingness to help others.

Article III

Event participants should be adults (people 18 years or older with full civil legal capacity). Underage persons must be accompanied by an adult.

Article IV

Event participants undertake all liability for their personal safety during the event, and event participants are encouraged to purchase personal safety insurance. Should an accident occur during an event, persons not involved in the accident and the museum do not undertake any liability for the accident, but both have the obligation to provide assistance. Event participants should actively organize and implement rescue efforts, but do not undertake any legal or economic liability for the accident itself. The museum does not undertake civil or joint liability for the personal safety of event participants.

Article V

During the event, event participants should respect the order of the museum event and ensure the safety of the museum site, the artworks in displays, exhibitions, and collections, and the derived products. If an event causes any degree of loss or damage to the museum site, space, artworks, or derived products due to an individual, persons not involved in the accident and the museum do not undertake any liability for losses. The event participant must negotiate and provide compensation according to the relevant legal statutes and museum rules. The museum may sue for legal and financial liability.

Article VI

Event participants will participate in the event under the guidance of museum staff and event leaders or instructors and must correctly use the painting tools, materials, equipment, and/or facilities provided for the event. If a participant causes injury or harm to him/herself or others while using the painting tools, materials, equipment, and/or facilities, or causes the damage or destruction of the tools, materials, equipment, and/or facilities, the event participant must undertake all related liability and provide compensation for the financial losses. Persons not involved in the accident and the museum do not undertake any liability for personal accidents.

CAFA Art Museum Portraiture Rights Licensing Agreement

According to The Advertising Law of the People’s Republic of China, The General Principles of the Civil Law of the People’s Republic of China, and The Provisional Opinions of the Supreme People’s Court on Some Issues Related to the Full Implementation of the General Principles of the Civil Law of the People’s Republic of China, and upon friendly negotiation, Party A and Party B have arrived at the following agreement regarding the use of works bearing Party A’s image in order to clarify the rights and obligations of the portrait licenser (Party A) and the user (Party B):

I. General Provisions

(1) Party A is the portraiture rights holder in this agreement. Party A voluntarily licenses its portraiture rights to Party B for the purposes stipulated in this agreement and permitted by law.

(2) Party B (CAFA Art Museum) is a specialized, international modern art museum. CAFA Art Museum keeps pace with the times, and works to create an open, free, and academic space and atmosphere for positive interaction with groups, corporations, institutions, artists, and visitors. With CAFA’s academic research as a foundation, the museum plans multi-disciplinary exhibitions, conferences, and public education events with participants from around the world, providing a platform for exchange, learning, and exhibition for CAFA’s students and instructors, artists from around the world, and the general public. As a public institution, the primary purposes of CAFA Art Museum’s public education events are academic and beneficial to society.

(3) Party B will photograph all CAFA Public Education Department events for Party A.

II. Content, Forms of Use, and Geographical Scope of Use

(1) Content. The content of images taken by Party B bearing Party A’s likeness include: ① CAFA Art Museum ② CAFA campus ③ All events planned or executed by the CAFAM Public Education Department.

(2) Forms of Use. For use in CAFA’s publications, products with CDs, and promotional materials.

(3) Geographical Scope of Use

The applicable geographic scope is global.

The media in which the portraiture may be used encompasses any media that does not infringe upon Party A’s portraiture rights (e.g., magazines and the internet).

III. Term of Portraiture Rights Use

Use in perpetuity.

IV. Licensing Fees

The fees for images bearing Party A’s likeness will be undertaken by Party B.

After completion, Party B does not need to pay any fees to Party A for images bearing Party A’s likeness.

Additional Terms

(1) All matters not discussed in this agreement shall be resolved through friendly negotiation between both parties. Both parties may then sign a supplementary agreement, provided it does not violate any laws or regulations.

(2) This agreement comes into effect on the date that it is signed (sealed) and the relevant boxes are selected by Party A and Party B.

(3) This agreement exists in paper and electronic forms. The paper form is made in duplicate, with Party A and Party B each retaining one copy with the same legal efficacy.

Event participants implicitly accept and undertake all the obligations stated in this agreement. Those who do not consent will be seen as abandoning the right to participate in this event. Before participating in this event, please speak to your family members to obtain their consent and inform them of this disclaimer. After participants sign/check the required box, participants and their families will be seen as having read and agreed to these terms.

I have carefully read and agree to the above provisions.

Group Visit Agreement
and Statement

CAFA Art Museum Publication Authorization Agreement

I fully agree to CAFA Art Museum (CAFAM) submitting to CAFA for publication the images, pictures, texts, writings, and event products (such as works created during participation in workshops) related to me from my participation in public events (including museum member events) organized by the CAFA Art Museum Public Education Department. CAFA can publish these materials by electronic, web, or other digital means, and I hereby agree to be included in the China Knowledge Resource Bank, the CAFA Database, the CAFA Art Museum Database, and related data, documentation, and filing institutions and platforms. Regarding their use in CAFA and dissemination on the internet, I agree to make use of these rights according to the stated Rules.

CAFA Art Museum Event Safety Disclaimer

Article I

This event was organized on the principles of fairness, impartiality, and voluntary participation and withdrawal. Participants undertake all risk and liability for themselves. All events have risks, and participants must be aware of the risks related to their chosen event.

Article II

Event participants must abide by the laws and regulations of the People’s Republic of China, as well as moral and ethical norms. All participants must demonstrate good character, respect for others, friendship, and a willingness to help others.

Article III

Event participants should be adults (people 18 years or older with full civil legal capacity). Underage persons must be accompanied by an adult.

Article IV

Event participants undertake all liability for their personal safety during the event, and event participants are encouraged to purchase personal safety insurance. Should an accident occur during an event, persons not involved in the accident and the museum do not undertake any liability for the accident, but both have the obligation to provide assistance. Event participants should actively organize and implement rescue efforts, but do not undertake any legal or economic liability for the accident itself. The museum does not undertake civil or joint liability for the personal safety of event participants.

Article V

During the event, event participants should respect the order of the museum event and ensure the safety of the museum site, the artworks in displays, exhibitions, and collections, and the derived products. If an event causes any degree of loss or damage to the museum site, space, artworks, or derived products due to an individual, persons not involved in the accident and the museum do not undertake any liability for losses. The event participant must negotiate and provide compensation according to the relevant legal statutes and museum rules. The museum may sue for legal and financial liability.

Article VI

Event participants will participate in the event under the guidance of museum staff and event leaders or instructors and must correctly use the painting tools, materials, equipment, and/or facilities provided for the event. If a participant causes injury or harm to him/herself or others while using the painting tools, materials, equipment, and/or facilities, or causes the damage or destruction of the tools, materials, equipment, and/or facilities, the event participant must undertake all related liability and provide compensation for the financial losses. Persons not involved in the accident and the museum do not undertake any liability for personal accidents.

CAFA Art Museum Portraiture Rights Licensing Agreement

According to The Advertising Law of the People’s Republic of China, The General Principles of the Civil Law of the People’s Republic of China, and The Provisional Opinions of the Supreme People’s Court on Some Issues Related to the Full Implementation of the General Principles of the Civil Law of the People’s Republic of China, and upon friendly negotiation, Party A and Party B have arrived at the following agreement regarding the use of works bearing Party A’s image in order to clarify the rights and obligations of the portrait licenser (Party A) and the user (Party B):

I. General Provisions

(1) Party A is the portraiture rights holder in this agreement. Party A voluntarily licenses its portraiture rights to Party B for the purposes stipulated in this agreement and permitted by law.

(2) Party B (CAFA Art Museum) is a specialized, international modern art museum. CAFA Art Museum keeps pace with the times, and works to create an open, free, and academic space and atmosphere for positive interaction with groups, corporations, institutions, artists, and visitors. With CAFA’s academic research as a foundation, the museum plans multi-disciplinary exhibitions, conferences, and public education events with participants from around the world, providing a platform for exchange, learning, and exhibition for CAFA’s students and instructors, artists from around the world, and the general public. As a public institution, the primary purposes of CAFA Art Museum’s public education events are academic and beneficial to society.

(3) Party B will photograph all CAFA Public Education Department events for Party A.

II. Content, Forms of Use, and Geographical Scope of Use

(1) Content. The content of images taken by Party B bearing Party A’s likeness include: ① CAFA Art Museum ② CAFA campus ③ All events planned or executed by the CAFAM Public Education Department.

(2) Forms of Use. For use in CAFA’s publications, products with CDs, and promotional materials.

(3) Geographical Scope of Use

The applicable geographic scope is global.

The media in which the portraiture may be used encompasses any media that does not infringe upon Party A’s portraiture rights (e.g., magazines and the internet).

III. Term of Portraiture Rights Use

Use in perpetuity.

IV. Licensing Fees

The fees for images bearing Party A’s likeness will be undertaken by Party B.

After completion, Party B does not need to pay any fees to Party A for images bearing Party A’s likeness.

Additional Terms

(1) All matters not discussed in this agreement shall be resolved through friendly negotiation between both parties. Both parties may then sign a supplementary agreement, provided it does not violate any laws or regulations.

(2) This agreement comes into effect on the date that it is signed (sealed) and the relevant boxes are selected by Party A and Party B.

(3) This agreement exists in paper and electronic forms. The paper form is made in duplicate, with Party A and Party B each retaining one copy with the same legal efficacy.

Event participants implicitly accept and undertake all the obligations stated in this agreement. Those who do not consent will be seen as abandoning the right to participate in this event. Before participating in this event, please speak to your family members to obtain their consent and inform them of this disclaimer. After participants sign/check the required box, participants and their families will be seen as having read and agreed to these terms.

I have carefully read and agree to the above provisions.

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