Session Abstract: In response to the profound disruptions in global mobility caused by recent trade wars, coronavirus pandemic, and travel bans, this panel calls attention to global interconnections by exploring cosmopolitan artistic trends instrumental to forming the culture of modern Asian cities in the 1930s. By examining a range of visual materials and their contexts, it traces the modes of seeing, reading, traveling, and consuming that emerged in the golden age of modernism and have continued to influence our ways of understanding the world. Su-hsing Lin opens the panel with her research on the cross-cultural communications between Europe, Japan, and Taiwan by analyzing the Japanese writer Nishikawa Mitsuru’s modernist book design and its role in shaping the art scene in Taiwan. Pedith Chan turns our attention westward to a popular scenic spot, Mount Huang, exploring how Chinese urbanites experienced nature and commodified the image of natural landscapes in the discourse of global tourism. Taking the new art gallery of Shanghai’s Sun department store as case study, Yiwen Liu scrutinizes the shifting boundaries between the domestic and public, consumer and creator, as women’s expressions of gender subjectivity appear in this cosmopolitan commercial space. Yiqing Li examines the rise of popular science and technology that were key to formulating the industrial aesthetics of geometric abstraction and transformed traditional ways of perceiving and representing the world. Weaving a complicated fabric from threads of the colonial, national, regional, global, commercial, and educational, the panel explores the role of modern visual art in constructing Asian urban culture.
Paper Presenter: Su-hsing Lin – Tainan National University of the Arts
Paper Presenter: Pedith Chan – SOAS, University of London
Paper Presenter: Yiwen Liu – The Ohio State University
Paper Presenter: Yiqing Li – University of California, San Diego