Jason C. Kuo, ed.
New Academia Publishing, 2013
348 Pages, 39 Illustrations
ISBN 978-0-9860216-6-4 Paperback

For BULK ORDERS, order directly from New Academia Publishing.

About the Author

Jason Kuo is a professor at the University of Maryland in the Department of Art History & Archaeology. He is the author of The Austere Landscape: The Paintings of Hung-jen and Transforming Traditions
in Modern Chinese Painting: Huang Pin-hung’s Late Work
. He edited the volumes Visual Culture in Shanghai, 1850s-1930s, Perspectives on Connoisseurship of Chinese Painting, and Stones from Other Mountains: Chinese Painting Studies in Postwar America.

About the book

In the past two decades, contemporary Chinese art and film have attracted a great deal of media and academic attention in the West, and scholars have adopted a variety of approaches in Chinese film and visual studies. The present volume focuses on the uses and status of theory originating in non-Chinese places in the creation, curating, narration, and criticism of contemporary Chinese visual culture (broadly defined to include traditional media in the visual arts as well as cinema, installation, video, etc.). Contributors reflect on the written and, even more interestingly, the unwritten assumptions on the part of artists, critics, historians, and curators in applying or resisting Western theories.

The essays in the present volume demonstrate clearly that Western theory can be useful in explicating Chinese text, as long as it is applied judiciously; the essays, taken as a whole, also suggest that cultural exchange is never a matter of one-way street. Historically, ideas from traditional Chinese aesthetics have also traveled to the West, and it is a challenge to examine what travels and what does not, as well as what makes such travel possible or impossible. The present volume thus provides us an opportunity to rethink travels of theories and texts across cultures, languages, disciplines, and media.


“The authors in this volume demonstrate how theory can be deployed judiciously, and so illuminate the methodological challenges faced by scholars in a rapidly evolving field. Intellectually rigorous and yet accessible, the book is a much-needed and valuable contribution to art historical scholarship.”
―Dr. Wenny Teo, Manuela and Iwan Wirth Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Asian Art, The Courtauld Institute of Art, London.

“This collection of essays offers multifaceted approaches and perspectives that demonstrate forcefully how Western theories have appropriated Chinese visual texts into the discourse of English scholarship. This is a must-read book for anyone intending to read or write about
contemporary Chinese art and cinema.
―Shu-chin Tsui, Bowdoin College, author of Women Through the Lens: Gender and Nation in a Century of Chinese Cinema.

“The theories, ranging from Bakhtin’s reading to Chinese Daoist/Chan Buddhist notions, and engaging with postmodern perspectives and globalization, are boldly used to prompt readers to reinterpret contemporary Chinese art and film.”
―Haili Kong, Swarthmore College, co-editor of One Hundred Years of Chinese Cinema.