A Lecture with Art Historian and Curator Pi Li
The Other Side of Revolution: “Tradition” Narrated in Twentieth-Century Chinese Art
Co-presented with UCLA Art History
In the discourse of art in twentieth-century China, from the beginning of the New Culture Movement to socialist art and literature and the New Wave, the concept of tradition was associated with backwardness, ignorance, and rigidity—the opposite of revolution, progress, and the avant-garde. At the same time, tradition is a notion driven by modernity and capitalism to anchor a work of art to a distinguishable point in time. In this lecture, art historian and curator Pi Li seeks to address the complexities of defining tradition in the context of Chinese contemporary art practice and the market forces of supply and demand.
Pi’s presentation will move through the twentieth century, focusing on three questions related to the topic of tradition in China. First, how did political and cultural movements recognize tradition, in its modern sense, and its cultural and intellectual significance? Second, what was the relationship between tradition and revolution and progress? Finally, how has contemporary art since the 85 New Wave made peace with tradition? Pi explores evidence in contemporary abstract painting, new literati painting, and the reintroduction of Zen into art practice, as well as in the more recent developments of conceptual photography and the new ink art movement.
Please join us before the lecture for a light welcome reception at 5:30pm.
UCLA Lot 4, 398 Westwood Plaza, directly off Sunset Blvd | $12/day. Rideshare drop-off 305 Royce Dr.
About Pi Li
Pi Li is the Sigg Senior Curator of M+, a visual culture museum in Hong Kong. He previously served as the deputy executive director of the art administration department at the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA, 2001-2012); the co-founder and director of Boers-Li Gallery (2005–2012) in Beijing, former Universal Studios-Beijing in Beijing. Exhibitions Pi Li curated include Right is Wrong: Four Decades of Chinese Art in M+ Sigg Collection at Whitworth Gallery in Manchester and Bildmuseet in Umea 2015 and 2014; Under Construction at Tokyo Opera Museum in 2002; Moist: Asia-Pacific Media Art at the Beijing Millennium Monument Art Museum in 2002; Fantasy Zone at Art Museum of DongA Daily in 2001 and Beijing Modern Art Center in 2002; Image is Power at He Xiangning Art Museum in Shenzhen in 2002. He was the curator of Media City Seoul in 2006. He has also served as curator for the Shanghai Biennial in 2002; and Allôrs la Chine at Centre Georges Pompidou in 2003. Publications include From Action to Concept (2015), Farewell to Moralism (2018). Pi Li earned his PhD degree in art history from the Central Academy of Fine Arts.