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OCAT Institute
2016.06.26 Sun - 2016.10.30 Sun
Opening Exhibition
OCAT Institute, Jinchanxilu, Chaoyang District, Beijing. 北京朝阳区金蝉西路OCAT研究中心
Opening Hours
Tuesday–Sunday 10am–5pm

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An Exhibition about Exhibitions:Displaying Contemporary Art in the 1990s
[Press Release]

Curator: Wu Hung
Displaying Contemporary Art in the 1990s
Participants: Curators and Artists of 12 Experimental Art Exhibitions
Canceled: An Exhibition About Exhibitions
Participants: Song Dong, Wu Wenguang, Leng Lin

June 26 – October 30, 2016

Press Conference: June 26 5pm
Opening: June 26 5:30-7pm

Venue: OCAT Institute, Jinchanxilu, Chaoyang District , Beijing (100 meters North from Subway Line 7 Happy Valley Scenic Area Station Exit B

Curated by Professor Wu Hung, a permanent member of the American Academy of Art and Science, and a famous art historian, critic, and curator, An Exhibition about Exhibitions:Displaying Contemporary Art in the 1990s will be shown at OCAT Institute from 26th June to 30th October, 2016.

This exhibition focuses on the “problems of exhibitions” in contemporary Chinese art, including the goals, organization, conditions, and challenges of exhibiting contemporary art in China. These problems inspired experimental artists, art critics, and independent curators during the 1990s, leading to many interrelated activities and discussions. During this process a large number of original exhibitions were planned and staged, while many influential works were conceptualized and created for special exhibitions. Prior to the normalization of contemporary art in the early 2000s, these activities constituted an “exhibition moment,” with a force and concentration rarely seen in world art history.

Today, nearly twenty years later, contemporary art exhibitions have become a vital part of the Chinese art scene, with numerous museums, galleries, and exhibition spaces constantly producing new shows. Yet the negotiation between experimentalism and public agendas still determines the identity and social significance of contemporary art. The historical experiences from the 1990s are still useful in thinking about this problem. Such experiences also constitute an important topic in studying the development of contemporary Chinese art.

This exhibition consists of two parts. Part One displays materials related to contemporary art exhibitions of the 1990s, focusing on twelve exhibitions organized between 1997 and early 2000, whose venues included a large public museum, a private museum, a mall, a fashionable bar, a convention center, a zone between city and countryside, an ancient building, basements in high rises, and other types of non-exhibition space. Entitled “Canceled: An Exhibition about an Exhibition,” Part Two is an exhibition within an exhibition. Through re-presenting the space and content of one of these twelve historical shows, it reflects on the interaction between the organizer, artists, and audiences of experimental exhibitions in the 1990s.

About Wu Hung
Wu Hung, a permanent member of the American Academy of Art and Science, is a famous art historian, critic, and curator. Currently he holds the Harrie A. Vanderstappen Distinguished Service Professorship at the Department of Art History and the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago, and is also the director of the Center for the Art of East Asia and the Consulting Curator at the Smart Museum at the same university. He sits on many international committees including Guggenheim Museum’s Asian Art Council, and chairs the Academic Committees of OCT Contemporary Art Terminal and Yuz Museum. Wu Hung’s research interests include both traditional and contemporary art. Regarding contemporary art, he has curated many exhibitions since the 1980s, including individual artists’ one-person shows, thematic group exhibitions, and biennales and triennials. In addition to the catalogues that he compiled for these exhibitions, he has published many influential books and anthologies, including Making History: Wu Hung on Contemporary Art (2008), Wu Hung on Contemporary Chinese Artists (2009), Contemporary Chinese Art: Primary Documents (2010), and Contemporary Chinese Art: A History (2014)

About OCAT Institute

The OCAT Institute is a non-profit research center dedicated to the history of art and its related discourses. It is also a member of the OCAT Museums. The Institute has three main areas of activity: publication, archives, and exhibition. The scope of its research encompasses art from antiquity, modern and contemporary Chinese art, more specifically, it includes the investigation of artists, artworks, schools of art production, exhibitions, art discourses, as well as art institutions, publications and other aspects of art’s overall ecology. It will establish a research archives and facilitate dialogue and exchange between China and abroad. In addition, it serves as an exhibition platform in Beijing.

The OCAT Institute aims to establish a paradigm of valuation, a system of academic investigation, and modes of applying historical research methodologies to modern and contemporary Chinese art. Through an interdisciplinary approach that bridges contemporary art research, critical theory, and the history of ideas and culture, it promotes an integrated methodology that seeks to cultivate an open spirit of academic research.

Related Activities

OCAT Insititute Annual Lectures: Space in Art History
Lecturer: Wu Hung

Space and Image
June 20, 4-7pm
Space and Objects
June 21, 4-7pm
Space and Total Art
June 22, 4-7pm

Venue: The University of Chicago Center in Beijing, 20th floor, Culture Plaza, No.59A Zhong Guan Cun Street, Haidian District, Beijing

Wu Hung Seminar Series
Seminar 3: Art History and Visual Archaeology
June 23 10am-5pm
Participants: Ning Qiang, Li Qingquan, Kong Lingwei, Tang Hongfeng.

Venue: The University of Chicago Center in Beijing, 20th floor, Culture Plaza, No.59A Zhong Guan Cun Street, Haidian District, Beijing