Asian Art History in the
Twenty-First Century

Thursday, April 27, 2006 - April 29, 2006

This Clark conference organized in association with the Asia Society, New York and convened by Vishakha N. Desai, provided a forum for discussion and debate among leaders of the field from Asia, Europe, and the United States.

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?

Participants included:
Frederick M. Asher, University of Minnesota; Melissa Chiu, Asia Society Museum; John Clark, University of Sydney, Australia; Lisa G. Corrin, Williams College Museum of Art; Vishakha N. Desai, Asia Society, NY; Oleg Grabar, Independent Scholar, US; Wu Hung, University of Chicago; Yukio Lippit, Harvard University; Saloni Mathur, University of California at Los Angeles; Kaja McGowan, Cornell University; Rana Mitter, University of Oxford; Alexandra Munroe, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; Gao Shiming, China Academy of Art, China; Jerome Silbergeld, P.Y. and Kinmay W. Tang Center for East Asian Art, Princeton University; Kavita Singh, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India; Nancy S. Steinhardt, University of Pennsylvania; Akira Takagishi, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan; Gennifer Weisenfeld, Duke University; Partha Mitter, Independent Scholar, UK

In order of discussion

Opening Conversation: Is There an "Asian Art"?
Vishakha N. Desai speaks with Wu Hung and Oleg Grabar

Forming the Canons
Moderator: Maggie Bickford

The Shape of Indian Art History
Frederick Asher

The East Asian Architectural Canon
Nancy Steinhardt

Changing Views of Change: The Song-Yuan Transition in Chinese Painting Histories
Jerome Silbergeld

Verisimilitude and Its Discontents: The Zen Portrait in Early Japan
Yukio Lippit

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

Institutions, Aesthetics, Politics
Moderator: Scarlett Jang

Aesthetics, Modernity, and Trauma in Modern China
Rana Mitter

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.
Akira Takagishi

Museology and the Post-Colony: The Case of India
Saloni Mathur and Kavita Singh

Realism: Depart from Post-Colonial Asia
Gao Shiming

New Histories, New Futures
Moderator: Julia Andrews

Histories of the Asian "New"
John Clark

Asian Ideas in Modern American Art
Alexandra Munroe

The Chinese Diaspora: An Expanded Chinese Art History
Melissa Chiu

Reinscribing Tradition in a Transnational Art Market
Gennifer Weisenfeld

Conference Response and Discussion
Respondent: Partha Mitter
Chaired by Lisa Corrin

* This Clark Conference was generously sponsored by the Henry Luce Foundation, the W.L.S. Spencer Foundation, and the Asian Cultural Council.