Art Radar Asia

Posted on 02/01/2014

What are the best sources of information on China’s complex, vibrant contemporary culture? Curator and academic Rachel Marsden reveals her top tips.

With the ever growing flow of information flooding the internet, finding high quality information can be daunting, particularly when it comes to a subject as multifarious as Chinese art. Independent curator and academic Rachel Marsden gives her advice on where to find useful and up-to-date information on Chinese contemporary art and culture online.

Ai Weiwei, 'Map of China', 2006, ironwood (Tieli mu) from dismantled Qing dynasty (1644–1911) temples, 40 x 92.7 x 80 cm. Stockamp Tsai Collection. Image courtesy The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Ai Weiwei, ‘Map of China’, 2006, ironwood (Tieli mu) from dismantled Qing dynasty (1644–1911) temples, 40 x 92.7 x 80 cm. Stockamp Tsai Collection. Image courtesy The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

As the digital age progresses at a frenetic pace in what is China’s century, there is always the question of how to document and archive information and perspectives on Chinese contemporary art and culture. Moreover, there is the issue of how to share all this information, much of which is created in an instantaneous and somewhat fleeting way.

This article is the first in a series looking into where to find information on Chinese contemporary art and culture digitally, online via your laptop, tablet or phone. Future articles will look at what is offered through video and film, personal blogs, the Twittersphere and Instagram, among other platforms.

1. Randian

Launched in 2010, Randian is a growing online magazine, professionally designed and articulately conceived, with a primary focus on fostering cultural debate on Chinese contemporary art, as well as video, architecture and design, both in China and across the rest of the world.

2. Uncut Talks

A sound or audio magazine that acts as an open platform presenting unmoderated conversations from China and around the world. Discussions revolve around some of the most challenging and provocative topics of our time, including contemporary art, social innovation, design, music and more. The project is a collaboration between artists Ma Yongfeng (Forget Art), Alessandro Rolandi and art critic Edward Sanderson.

Qiu Zhijie, "The Universe of Naming", installation view at Spring Workshop, Hong Kong.

Qiu Zhijie, “The Universe of Naming”, installation view at Spring Workshop, Hong Kong

3. CAFA Art Info

An organisation based out of the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in Beijing. Taking a more journalistic and blog-style approach, CAFA Art Info promotes contemporary Chinese artists and art news whilst encouraging cultural debate in China and the rest of the world.

4. Blouin Art Info – China and Hong Kong

This online magazine provides the latest finger-on-the-pulse global news on contemporary art and culture now focussing on China and Hong Kong. Often information, articles, photo galleries and videos go online as the event is happening. Short and sharp presentation is provided daily.

5. Chinese Visual Culture

Find William Andrew Albano on Facebook and Twitter for a broad-based commentary on Chinese art and culture news from the neolithic to the present, and how Chinese culture is placed in the global domain.

Gao Brothers, 'Sense of Space - Wake', 2000, Photograph, 180 x 230 cm, in Between Spiritual and Material Spaces: the Photographic World of the Gao Brothers at Hua Gallery, Image courtesy the Hua Gallery.

Gao Brothers, ‘Sense of Space – Wake’, 2000, Photograph, 180 x 230 cm, in Between Spiritual and Material Spaces: the Photographic World of the Gao Brothers at Hua Gallery, Image courtesy the Hua Gallery

6. Arts of China Consortium

Hosted by Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, this is an invaluable go-to website to find out about talks, conferences, symposia, events, grants and funding, and jobs in and relating to China and East Asia. It is intended to promote an understanding of Chinese art history whilst encouraging informal dialogue. The information is compiled largely by Nixi Cura, who runs the Arts of China course at Christie’s Education, London.

7. Curating Chinese Contemporary Network at CFCCA

A brand new initiative set up by the Centre For Chinese Contemporary Art, Manchester (UK). The network aims to become an active collection of people working together to create projects and discuss relevant cultural ideas related to China today. Sign up to gain exclusive access to their dedicated network blog and research archive, and to be invited to future network and conference events across the United Kingdom. Network members are also invited to share any relevant information and current research to further extend the network.

8. Asian Cultural Council

Comprehensive e-newsletter that informs of cultural exchange happening between institutions in the United States and Asia regarding research, study and projects within Asian contexts. Not China specific but, like the CFCCA, the Asian Cultural Council wants to expand and create networks across the world.

9. ArtAsiaPacific blog

Run alongside ArtAsiaPacific’s print and online magazine, the blog presents further perspectives on art and culture from the Asia-Pacific and Middle East regions. Although not China-focused, AAP’s online resource provides in-depth articles on the bigger players and forerunners in the scene.

10. Art-Ba-Ba

This is one of the most active Chinese art communities and forum websites used in China to share any information relating to Chinese contemporary art. Art-Ba-Ba includes short exhibition reviews, articles and open discussion. It is largely in Chinese, but more and more content is being added in English.

11. artlinkart

An ever-growing bilingual (English and Chinese) online database project for Chinese contemporary art that aims to build an extensive archive with accurate and subjective knowledge. You will find surface-level reference information that is less critically minded.

12. Chinatown Art Space

Run out of London, Chinatown Art Space is an organisation supporting British East Asian performing and visual arts. The regular e-newsletter delivers information about things happening in and around the Unite Kingdom with global partnerships.

13. Asian Contemporary Arts Consortium (ACAC) Newsletter

Run from San Francisco, ACAC aims to build audiences, promote and sustain interest in Asian contemporary arts and design in San Francisco and the Bay Area, and is also trying to place itself nationally and internationally. Their e-newsletter is another point of reference as to what art events and exhibitions are going on.

Rachel Marsden

Rachel Marsden is an independent curator, PhD researcher and writer in the field of contemporary Asian art, particularly Chinese contemporary art. Currently, she works at Manchester’s CFCCA and divides her time between the UK and China.