New issue of Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art 4.1 - out now!

Intellect is delighted to announce that the new issue of the Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art (4.1) is now available.


For more information about this issue please click here or email


Articles within this issue include (partial list):


New Silk Road artworlds: The art of hybrid and the marginal at the Xinjiang Contemporary Art Museum

Authors: Darren Byler

Page Start: 27


Since the early 2000s many second-tier Chinese cities have begun to cultivate contemporary art scenes. Ürümchi, the capital city of the north-west province of Xinjiang, is no exception. Following Xi Jinping’s announcement of the New Silk Road Economic Belt in 2013, a group of artists from the city received support from the Xinjiang Cultural Ministry to transform a decommissioned government building into the Xinjiang Contemporary Art Museum. Many of the exhibitions hosted in the space focus not only on themes of Silk Road revitalisation but also representations of migration, frontier marginalisation and the spectacle of rapid capitalist development. One outcome of this is the emergence of contemporary art rooted in the ‘hybrid’ traditions of Uyghur artists. In addition, a school of Han migrant documentary photography and figurative painting, which the art critic, curator and painter Zeng Qunkai has called ‘black and white marginality’, has begun to emerge.


Between global models and local resources: Building private art museums in Shanghai’s West Bund

Authors: Giulia Zennaro

Page Start: 61


Increasingly, the establishment of museums has developed as a strategy for improving local attractiveness and economy. Recently, in China, art museums – often in private form – have witnessed a rapid development. However, despite enhanced governmental support, some of these new art endeavours still face challenges in their operation. I argue that a major factor contributing to these obstacles can be found in the relation between local governments’ ambitions to design museums similarly to other world-renowned ones (isomorphism) and the availability of local resources and expertise. In particular, my case study on the Long Museum and the Yuz Museum (in the Shanghai West Bund) shows how focusing on the achievement of globally favoured aesthetic standards vis-à-vis local resources to enhance the credibility of these new undertakings (legitimacy) has occasionally obstructed organizational efficiency, specifically in this case, of the museums’ function to store and display art.


From context to subject: The poetics and politics of creating and exhibiting artworks in the National Museum of China

Authors: Tongyun Yin

Page Start: 101


Prior to its renovation and reopening in 2011, the National Museum of China, originally the Museum of Chinese History and the Museum of Chinese Revolution sharing the same building structure, has been the official trustee and the authoritative voice of Chinese history since 1949. However, in the past five years, the Museum has significantly shifted its focus from history to art as the pace of the nation’s socioeconomic transition accelerated, a tendency summarised in its mission to transform the Museum into the “largest art and history museum” in the world. Based on the studies of the exhibitions held at the Museum in the past few decades, this paper examines the transformation of the exhibitionary practices of the NMC first through the lens of artworks created by official commissions in Socialist China and by reconstructing cultural relics into ‘Chinese art’ in post-Socialist China. Then, it analyses the altering interpretative narratives and presentational approaches used to exhibit artworks against the nation’s rapidly changing social-cultural and economic contexts. The article aims to analyse the changing roles played by art to foster and uphold shifting discourses to justify the Party-State’s political legitimation and promote cultural nationalism for nation-building. It further reveals how power, politics and ideology operate in exhibitions in contemporary China.


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