PRINCETON, NJ.- Princeton University Art Museum
is pleased to present Outside In: Chinese x American x Contemporary Art, on view from March 7 through June 7, 2009. This diverse selection of more than fifty works by six artists includes paintings, drawings, photography, book arts, sculpture and installations which expand on the current popularity of contemporary Chinese art and simultaneously challenge the curatorial practices on which this popularity has been based. Guest curator Jerome Silbergeld, director of the P.Y. and Kinmay W. Tang Center for East Asian Art at Princeton University, has organized this exhibition together with Cary Liu, curator of Asian art at the Princeton University Art Museum, and Dora Ching, associate director of the Tang Center.
"The art world," says Jerome Silbergeld, "is currently enthralled with contemporary Chinese art. This exhibition argues, however, that American audiences have been exposed to only a narrow range of what is available — with the majority of attention having been given to 'avant-garde' or 'experimental' art, frequently selected for its dissident political content or ' shock value' rather than for its artistic quality. Outside In presents contemporary Chinese art in a far wider range of styles and subject matter and substantially expands on our understanding of this work." The six artists featured in this exhibition, Arnold Chang, Michael Cherney, Zhi Lin, Liu Dan, Vannessa Tran, and Zhang Hongtu, are widely diverse in terms of their style and subject matter, age and experience, and geographic and ethnic origin. Some are well known internationally, others are introduced for the first time, yet each makes a unique contribution to contemporary art. Collectively, these artists represent a far wider range in Chinese artistic practice than the work shown in most exhibitions, art fairs, and galleries today.
Many of the finest “ Chinese ” artists now work, or have recently worked, in the United States. This raises the question of what is meant by “ Chinese ” art in this age of globalization, and it equally questions what is meant by “ American ” art. The six artists selected for Outside In are all American citizens: some are immigrants, others were born in America, some are ethnically Chinese, and others have simply adopted Chinese art and culture as their own. All the works on view have been “made in the USA ” —or were at least conceived and designed here. All six artists are keenly mindful of their historical roots, which they have integrated into their art, and their awareness of Chinese traditions challenges the meaning of “ contemporary ” in today ’ s Chinese art.