Sydney Asian Art Series

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The Sydney Asian Art Series is a dedicated series of talks on Asian art co-presented by the University of Sydney's China Studies Centre, The Power Institute and VisAsia, with support from the Art Gallery of New South Wales and Sydney Ideas. The Sydney Asian Art Series will bring to Sydney four international guest speakers each year over the next three years. The lecture series will focus on topics in early, modern and contemporary Asian art.

2017 PROGRAM

Marketing Pleasure for Profit: 'The Mirror of Yoshiwara Beauties, Compared' by Professor Julie Nelson Davis

9 March 2017

Podcast

Lecture Abstract

Julie lecture image

Today, The Mirror of Yoshiwara Beauties, Compared is regarded as one of most remarkable printed books of eighteenth-century Japan. Featuring sumptuous illustrations by two leading ukiyo-e artists, Kitao Shigemasa and Katsukawa Shunshō, the book exploited full-color multiple block printing to represent the glamorous ‘beauties’ of the licensed Yoshiwara pleasure district. In her presentation, Professor Davis will discuss the publication as a remarkable collaboration between the publishers, artists, block carvers and printers, to demonstrate how the unnamed patrons of the project are indicated through the book’s representational strategies. By reading the album against guidebooks to the district, as period readers would have, this talk further addresses how images and text operated to replicate and promote the act of connoisseurship of all that is shown in its pages.




About the Speaker

Julie

Julie Nelson Davis is Professor of the History of Art at the University of Pennsylvania and is currently a Senior Research Fellow at the Freer and Sackler Galleries at the Smithsonian Institution. Davis holds a B.A. from Reed College, studied in Japan as a Monbushô fellow at Gakushûin University and completed her Ph.D at the University of Washington. Davis was a Sainsbury Fellow at the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures, a Weiler Family Fellow and has received a number of other grants in support of her study of early modern Japanese print culture. Davis has published widely on early modern Japanese print culture, and this talk comes from her recent book, Partners in Print: Artistic Collaboration and the Ukiyo-e Market (University of Hawai’i Press, 2015). She is currently guest curator for an upcoming exhibition, Inventing Utamaro: A Japanese Masterpiece Rediscovered at the Freer and Sackler Galleries at the Smithsonian, opening in April 2017 and is the supervisor of the Pulverer Collection of Japanese Illustrated Books online catalogue at the same institution. Her first book, Utamaro and the Spectacle of Beauty, was co-published by Reaktion Books and the University of Hawai’i Press (2007).

Land Lords:Art, Property and Law in Post-Nineties China

20 May 2017

Podcast

Lecture Abstract

The years between 1988 and 2007 saw numerous, unprecedented changes take place in China on multiple cultural, social and economic registers. Among the most dramatic were those affecting the legal system and its understanding of property. Although Communist economic systems sought to end private property by collectivizing the means of production, the liberalization of property ownership in the 1990s and 2000s encouraged an altogether different approach to artistic production, one that required considering how social relations were shaped by new forms of legal discourse.

This lecture addresses the intersection of various conceptions of property with several important artworks produced in 1990s and new millennium China, including those by Wang Jin, Ai Weiwei, Lin Yilin, Zhu Fadong, Li Jinghu, and Zhang Liaoyuan.

About the speaker

Joan Kee

Joan Kee is Associate Professor of the History of Art, and Director of Graduate Studies, University of Michigan. Kee’s research focuses on how modern and contemporary artworks figure as provocations to structures and frames of reference underpinning their creation and circulation. These include conceptions of the ‘world’, the law, standards of value, and theories of information dissemination. Kee has published widely, and her current book discusses how artists engaged with US law in ways that signaled a recuperation of integrity compromised by the very institutions supposedly entrusted with establishing standards of just conduct. Kee is a contributing editor to Artforum and an editorial board member of the journal Art Margins (MIT Press).

A Fragile Inheritance: Radical Stakes in Contemporary Indian Art

Event details
When: 6.00pm - 7.30pm, Wednesday 6 September 2017
Where: Old Geology Lecture Theatre, The University of Sydney, Camperdown, Sydney NSW 2006 
Cost: Free and open to all with registration requested. Scroll down for form and register online now.
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This lecture constructs an account of radical art practice in India through two seminal figures: Vivan Sundaram, the contemporary Delhi-based artist, and Geeta Kapur, the pre-eminent theorist, critic, and curator, and most significant interlocutor of the post-1968 avant-garde generation to which Sundaram belongs. This married couple (both b. 1941) are widely regarded as veterans of socially engaged art in the subcontinent. My lecture will consider the meaning of their highly individual, parallel, and at times intersecting, contributions to the visual arts in India over the past four decades, and sketch a model of radical practice that responds, more urgently than ever, to the specific conditions of the present era.

About the speaker

Saloni Mathur received her PhD. in Cultural Anthropology in 1998, and is currently Professor of Art History at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is author of India by Design: Colonial History and Cultural Display (UC Press, 2007), editor of The Migrant’s Time: Rethinking Art History and Diaspora (Yale University Press/Clark Art Institute, 2011) and co-editor (with Kavita Singh) of No Touching, No Spitting, No Praying: The Museum in South Asia (Routledge, 2015).

Painting After the Mass-Produced Image: Art in nineteenth-century Iran

Event details
When: 6.00pm - 7.30pm, Thursday 19 October 2017
Where: Charles Perkins Centre Auditorium 
Cost: Free and open to all with registration requested. Scroll down for form and register online now.
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Lecture Abstract

David Roxburgh

In Iran, rulers of the Persian Qajar dynasty (1779-1925) pursued a broad range of military, bureaucratic and social reforms, formed new institutions (including the first polytechnic Dar al-Funun ‘Abode of the Sciences’) – and embraced new technologies of the mass-produced image, such as photography and lithography. It was also a period of heightened exchange between Iran, India, Russia and the countries of Europe, in which greater numbers of people travelled between these regions for work, trade, diplomacy, education and tourism. Art produced under Qajar rule – for elite and middle class audiences – fully reflected this new mixture of mediums and images moved across and between them with great fluidity. While Persian artists welcomed these new mediums – freely excerpting subjects from a broad range of high through popular visual culture and combining them to produce innovative artworks – the majority of European visitors by contrast offered scathing and derisive criticism. The largely negative history of reception of Qajar art has haunted art historical scholarship until recent years. This lecture examines the processes by which Qajar artists – whether working at the royal court or in the bazaar – embraced new technologies of the image and examines the nature of their resulting intermedial artworks. What were the implications for the art of painting after the advent of photography and lithography?

About the speaker

David J. Roxburgh is Department Chair, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Professor of Islamic Art History, Harvard University. His books include Prefacing the Image: The Writing of Art History in Sixteenth-Century Iran (Leiden, 2001) and The Persian Album, 1400-1600: From Dispersal to Collection (New Haven, 2005). He has also worked as a curator on the exhibitions Turks: A Journey of A Thousand Years (London, Royal Academy of Art, 2005) and Traces of the Calligrapher: Islamic Calligraphy in Practice, c. 1600-1900M (Houston, Museum of Fine Arts, 2007). His articles take a variety of approaches to the study of aesthetics, art and culture of the book, history of collections, and written sources.

Presented by
Sydney Asian Art Series is presented by the University of Sydney China Studies Centre, The Power Institute and VisAsia, with support from the Art Gallery of New South Wales and Sydney Ideas.