China and Inner Asia
Session Abstract: This panel investigates feminist thoughts articulated in women’s self-expression in and about art. Art writing and criticism had long been associated with the language of masculinity, and in China’s case, the connoisseurship of literati elites. In the early twentieth century, as women artists actively participated in dialogues of art and culture reforms, they began to rethink their agency in various forms of self-expressions. Scrutinizing the numerous exhibition catalogues, artist statements, treatises, criticism, cartoons, and press images by and of women in self-publications and popular press, we ask the questions: What constitutes art history and criticism? How did the languages used in these discourses, and the multiple roles of women artists – as writers, celebrities, and women’s rights advocates – complicate the narratives of cultural power in art connoisseurship? And how did the gender subjectivity express in texts resonate with their artworks, such as cartoons and self-portraits?
Doris Sung examines the painting treatise by Jin Taotao, who consciously adjusted the typical classifications in painting manuals to disrupt the male-centered canon of art connoisseurship. Focusing on women artists’ biography-centered publicity and art treatises in popular press, Amanda Wangwright contends that women artists were pictured as indicators of national progress. Gary Wang explores the notions of “fine art” and gender by examining female subjectivity in non-verbal texts such as glamor photography and self-portraiture. Martina Caschera unravels the creative voice and subjectivity of Liang Baibo in her cartoons and personal correspondence. Hu Ying, specialist on Chinese gender, literature and culture, will open the discussion.
Paper Presenter: Doris Sung – The University of Alabama
Paper Presenter: Amanda Wangwright – University of South Carolina
Paper Presenter: Gary Wang – University of Toronto
Paper Presenter: Martina Caschera – University of Chieti-Pescara