CONTEMPORARY ART IN ASIA: A CRITICAL READER

ed. Melissa Chiu and Benjamin Genocchio, Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2011, 430pp., English

The ongoing curricularization of contemporary art from Asia continues with this anthology, edited by the husband-and-wife, museum-director-and-magazine-editor duo of Chiu & Genocchio. They take 2008 as their starting point, noting that the year of the financial crisis was also the year “Asian artists stormed the citadel of the New York art world.” Stormed? Or were fêted by? It’s that sort of vehemence— born out of a hard-fought struggle for already attained acceptance— that underlies this three-part collection of essays. The texts, written by a breed of academics and critics that emerged in the 1990s, are grouped into sections on discursive origins, specific exhibitions and practices, and theoretical/art-historical musings. There are moments— Alice Yang’s analysis of the shadowy place of the Chinese other in Greenberg and Danto is one, Apinan Poshyananda’s 1993 manifesto for Asian art under the Clintonian “New World Order” is another— where the collection seems to do real work. And then there are others where the concept of “Asia,” and the identity-politics rubrics through which it was mostly discussed before, well, 2008, seem like unpleasant reminders of a moment just gone by.

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Post in: Bookshelf | July 20 , 2011 | Tag in: LEAP 9 | TEXT: ADAM GELLIN
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