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Interventionist Curatorial and Display Practices in Beijing

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Over the past decade, a number of curatorial and exhibitionary practices have developed in China that intervene into daily life. Interventionist practice partly develops from dissatisfaction with the marked division between the commercial art world and the everyday realities of cultural producers. They also develop from a desire to create a common space of engagement for artists and the local public. While much of this work is not overtly political, the prevailing social conditions of an authoritarian state lend these practices a critical edge, which can lead to surveillance, censorship and other consequences. This article surveys curatorial and artistic interventions in Beijing, placing them in the specific context of the various neighbourhoods, such as the 798 Art District, the city centre, Caochangdi village, and the industrialized suburbs.
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Keywords: 798 Art District; Beijing art zones; Caochangdi village; alternative exhibitions; contemporary art; interventionist art and curating; public art in China

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Independent Critic and Curator, Beijing

Publication date: February 1, 2015

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Curatorial Studies is an international, peer-reviewed publication that explores the cultural functioning of curating and its relation to exhibitions, institutions, audiences, aesthetics and display culture. The journal takes a wide perspective in the inquiry into what constitutes "the curatorial." Curating has evolved considerably from the connoisseurship model of arranging objects to now encompass performative, virtual and interventionist strategies. While curating as a spatialized discourse of art objects remains important, the expanded cultural practice of curating not only produces exhibitions for audiences to view, but also plays a catalytic role in redefining aesthetic experience, framing cultural conditions in institutions and communities, and inquiring into constructions of knowledge and ideology.
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