Contemporary Art in Asia

Contemporary Art in Asia

A Critical Reader

Edited by Melissa Chiu and Benjamin Genocchio

This foundational anthology maps the emergence of a dynamic new global phenomenon: contemporary Asian art.





This foundational anthology maps the emergence of a dynamic new global phenomenon: contemporary Asian art.

In 2008, Asia stormed the citadel of the New York art world when two major museums presented retrospectives of Asian contemporary artists: Cai Guo-Qiang at the Guggenheim Museum and Takashi Murakami at the Brooklyn Museum. Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, a painting by Zeng Fanzhi sold for $9.5 million, setting a new world auction record for Chinese contemporary art. The Western art world is still coming to grips with the challenge: it is all about Asia now. This book is the first anthology of critical writings to map the shift in both the nature and the reception of Asian art over the past twenty years. Offering texts by leading figures in the field (mostly Asian), and including more than fifty illustrations in color and black and white, it covers developments in East Asia (including China, Korea, and Japan), South Asia (including India and Pakistan), and Southeast Asia (including Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand). Together, the twenty-three texts posit an historical and pan-Asian response to the question, "What is Asian contemporary art?" Considering such topics as Asian modernism ("productive mistranslation" of the European original), Asian cubism, and the curating, collecting, and criticism of Asian contemporary art, this book promises to be a foundational reference for many years to come.


$34.95 T ISBN: 9780262516235 440 pp. | 7 in x 9 in 16 color illus., 38 b&w illus.


Melissa Chiu

Melissa Chiu is Museum Director and Vice President of Global Art Programs at the Asia Society in New York.

Benjamin Genocchio

Benjamin Genocchio is a former art critic for the New York Times and is currently editor-in-chief of Art + Auction and Modern Painters magazine.


  • As Asia has risen amidst a global sea change to reconfigure the economic, political, and cultural order of our time, a defining question for the coming decade is, Whither Asian art? How will this new thinner for hardened categories reset the international art scene? Contemporary Art in Asia is a retrospective selection of those seminal essays by theorists, curators, and art historians that over the past two decades have given voice to the exponential rise of Asia's art, an accelerating process of cultural counterpoint that in itself brings legitimacy to the very concept of Asian art.

    Roger T. Ames

    Department of Philosophy, University of Hawai'i

  • Chiu and Genocchio have chosen among the best critical writing over the last twenty years. In multiplicity this collection offers several trajectories and tendencies for engaging contemporary Asian art today. In particular the writings from Southeast Asia are key texts that I will be recommending to my students.

    Richard Streitmatter-Tran

    artist and co-curator of "The Mekong" at the 6th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art

  • This collection of essays will be a hugely important resource for anyone wishing to understand the history, scope, and complexity of this emergent and vital field of artistic practice. The volume will be extremely useful to specialists and also to curators, collectors, and researchers looking to gain a detailed and informative grasp of historical developments and concepts of modernity, cultural translation, globalization, and localized cultural concepts in Asia.

    Katie Hill

    Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Chinese Art, University of Westminster

  • This long-awaited collection does a superb job of bringing together some of the groundbreaking essays that in the past two decades have accompanied the emergence and acceptance of contemporary Asian art in the 'West.' They illustrate how thoroughly the orientation and direction of the international art world has shifted over time.

    Stefan Landsberger

    Olfert Dapper Professor of Contemporary Chinese Culture, University of Amsterdam, and Associate Professor in Contemporary Chinese History, Leiden University