CONF 04.04.2006

Asian Art History in the 21st century (Clark Art, 27-29 Apr 06)

Mark Ledbury

Clark Conference:
"Asian Art History in the Twenty-First Century"

27-29 April 2006

This year's Clark Conference is organized in association with Asia
Society, New York, and is convened by Vishakha N. Desai.

Asian art is a field that has changed much since its beginnings early last
century and which has been constantly shaped by a shifting world order. It
is not often that historians, curators, and critics of Asian art get the
chance to discuss their field, its historiography, its tensions, and its
possible future directions. What do we mean by Asian art? How did its
canons get formed? How is it manifest in museums, exhibitions and
galleries? How might we understand it in relation to shifting
geo-politics? How should we create new theoretical structures to suit the
realities of the twenty-first century?

The Clark/Asia Society Conference, Asian Art History in the Twenty-First
Century, will provide a forum for discussion and debate among leaders of
the field from Asia, Europe, and the United States.

The Conference begins with a reception and conversation at Asia Society in
New York on Thursday evening, April 27, and continues in Williamstown on
Friday and Saturday, April 28 and 29. We hope that as many people as
possible will attend both parts of the conference, but you may register
for them separately.


Thursday, April 27
6:00 pm
Opening Reception at ASIA SOCIETY, New York City

7:00--8:30 pm
Opening Conversation: Is There an "Asian Art"?
Vishakha N. Desai (President, Asia Society) speaks with Wu Hung
(University of Chicago) and Oleg Grabar (Institute for Advanced Studies,

Friday, April 28
10:00 am--1:00 pm
Conference registration at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute,
Williamstown, MA

11:30 am
Showing of videotape of the opening conversation

2:00 pm
Conference Introductions
Michael Holly, director of the research and academic program
Vishakha N. Desai, president, Asia Society

2:15 pm (Session 1)
Forming the Canons
Moderated by Maggie Bickford (Brown University and Clark Fellow, spring 2006)

Who wrote the histories of Asian art that we now work with? What were the
priorities of these histories, and what are the disputes and flashpoints
that mark them? Who decides what gets called Asian Art and what its
"masterpieces" are?

Frederick Asher (University of Minnesota)
The Shape of Indian Art History

Nancy Steinhardt (Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of
The East Asian Architectural Canon


Jerome Silbergeld (Tang Center for East Asian Art, Princeton University)
Changing Views of Change: The Song-Yuan Transition in Chinese Painting

Yukio Lippit (Harvard University)
Verisimilitude and Its Discontents: The Zen Portrait in Early Japan

Kaja M. McGowan (Cornell University)
Ritual Cloth, Commercial Canvas, or "A Good Opportunity to Show a Nude":
Undressing Balinese Painting in the Politics of Everyday


6:00 pm
Reception open to all conference attendees

Saturday, April 29
9:30 am (Session 2)
Institutions, Aesthetics, Politics
Moderated by Scarlett Jang (Williams College)

How do institutions shape the history of Asian art? How have museums,
exhibitions, and official histories impacted our understanding of objects,
and what might be the relationships between the institutions of art and
wider geo-political forces?

Rana Mitter (University of Oxford)
Aesthetics, Modernity, and Trauma in Modern China

Akira Takagishi (Tokyo Institute of Technology)
A Twentieth-Century Dream with a Twenty-First -Century Outlook: Yashiro
Yukio, a Japanese Historian of Western Art, and His Conception of
Institutions for the Study of East Asian Art.


Saloni Mathur (UCLA) and Kavita Singh (Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi)
Museology and the Post-Colony: The Case of India

Dr. Gao Shiming (China Academy of Art, Visual Research Center, Hangzhou)
Realism: Depart from Post-Colonial Asia


12:30 pm

2:00 pm (Session 3)
New Histories, New Futures
Moderated by Julia Andrews (The Ohio State University; Clark Professor,
spring 2006)

How is our understanding of art in Asia being shaped by contemporary
artists and histories? What might be the shape of Asian art history in the
next century? How might the history of Asian art impact western art
history? What effect might new global movements, diasporas, and the
internationalism of the art market have on shaping our ideas of Asian art?

John Clark (University of Sydney)
Histories of the Asian "New"

Alexandra Munroe (Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum)
Asian Ideas in Modern American Art


Melissa Chiu (Asia Society Art Museum)
The Chinese Diaspora: An Expanded Chinese Art History

Gennifer Weisenfeld(Duke University)
Reinscribing Tradition in a Transnational Art Market


5:00 pm
Conference Response and Discussion
Respondent: Partha Mitter (University of Sussex, England)
Chaired by Lisa Corrin (Williams College Museum of Art)

7:00 pm
Closing Reception at Williams College Museum of Art and opportunity to
view works of Asian art in WCMA's collections

This year's Clark Conference has been generously sponsored by the Henry
Luce Foundation, the W.L.S. Spencer Foundation, and the Asian Cultural

To register, please complete and return the registration form via mail or fax:

Or you may register via the events office of the Clark at 413 458 0693


CONF: Asian Art History in the 21st century (Clark Art, 27-29 Apr 06). In:, 04.04.2006. Letzter Zugriff 18.07.2024. <>.