Impossible Purities: Modern East Asian Art and the Question of Artistic Medium

WORKSHOP–Impossible Purities:  Modern East Asian Art and the Question of Artistic Medium

Saturday, 28 April 2012 (9AM-8PM)
Department of Art History, University of Chicago
Rooms 152 and 157, Cochrane-Woods Art Center, 5540 S Greenwood Ave.

Organized by the Center for the Art of East Asia, Department of Art History, University of Chicago with additional support from the Committee on Japanese Studies, University of Chicago

Conceptions of medium have long shaped the presumptive fields of modern and contemporary art, but particularly with regard to modern and contemporary art in East Asia. In many respects, the very history of this field might be configured in the lines drawn between oil and ink, figuration and abstraction, and “fine” art and craft. Many of these divisions were enacted to work through evolving definitions of culture, nationality, ethnicity, and race throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. Particular media were celebrated for their supposed capacity to authentically, or “purely” embody the sensibilities of a particular nation, culture, or race. This was often in direct odds with the artworks themselves, which were the result of sustained negotiations with diverse, and frequently, divergent, ways of thinking about form.

This workshop aims to open up discussion regarding medium in modern and contemporary art in East Asia. Presenters will cover a wide range of case studies, including export painting in 19th century southern China, the mixing of oil and ink painting in Meiji Japan, and the engagement with materiality by ink painters working in postwar Korea.


9:15 AM – 12:15 PM     Morning Session
Jerome Silbergeld (Princeton University)
“Is a White Horse a Horse? Is A Painted Pot a Pot or a Painting? The Long History of Mixed-Media, Mixed-Genre Arts in China”
Winnie Wong (Harvard University)
“Lam Qua’s Ingres’ Odalisque: Non-Authorship and Pure Modes of Copying”
Chelsea Foxwell (University of Chicago)
“Angels and Demons: Toshio Aoki (1854-1912), a Japanese Artist in California”
John Szostak (University of Hawai‘i at Manoa)
“Nihonga and the “Pigment Problem”: Evolving Notions of Mineral Pigments in Modern Japanese Painting”

5:00 PM-8:00 PM     Evening Session
Joan Kee* (University of Michigan)
“Kwon Young-woo Stands His Ground: Abstract Ink Painting in Postwar Korea”
Bert Winther-Tamaki* (University of California, Irvine)
“Fluxed by Other Media: The Modern Flow of Asian Ink”
6:40 PM – 7:00 PM    Refreshments

7:00 PM – 8:00 PM    Roundtable Discussion
Kevin Chua (Texas Tech School of Art)
Wu Hung (University of Chicago)

2-3:30 PM: Jerome Silbergeld’s lecture, “China Seen by the Chinese: The Emergence of Documentary Photography as a Fine Art in China, 1951-2003,” Price Auditorium, Art Institute of Chicago (Free with admission)


By , May 10, 2012 12:47 pm

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