Joan interviewing Yuan Yunsheng, Beijing, 1979, photographer unknown. Image courtesy of Joan Lebold Cohen and Asia Art Archive.


A Simple Documenting Exercise: The Joan Lebold Cohen Archive

January 26, 2017
AAA in A, '09-'21

43 Remsen St. Brooklyn, NY

A conversation with Joan Lebold Cohen and Jane DeBevoise of Asia Art Archive, with participation artist and curator Kong Chang’an. Experiencing post-Cultural Revolution China first-hand, Ms. Cohen formed a rare collection of approximately 16,500 slides that relate to work by artists in and from mainland China, Vietnam, and other Asian territories, dating from the 1970s to the early 2000s. In this talk, she discussed her documentation process, and showed a selection of slides that offered glimpse into the last few decades of twentieth-century China.

Joan Lebold Cohen is a photographer, art historian, and curator who specializes in Chinese art and film. A regular visitor to Asia since 1961, Cohen lived in Japan, Hong Kong, and China, where she was witness to the post-Cultural Revolution period of 1979 to 1981. Her book The New Chinese Painting, 1949–1986 was one of the first English-language publications to introduce recent generations of Chinese artists to the West. In addition, Cohen’s first-hand reports on the early development of Chinese contemporary art were published regularly in the Asian Wall Street Journal, Art News, and Asian Art News, as well as other newspapers and magazines.

Jane DeBevoise is Chair of the Board of Directors of Asia Art Archive in Hong Kong and New York, an independent non-profit organization initiated in 2000 that strives to enrich our understanding of the world through the collection, creation and sharing of knowledge around recent art in Asia. She has an MA from UC Berkeley and a PhD from the University of Hong Kong, both in Chinese art history.

Kong Chang’an is an artist, critic and curator, who holds an M.A. degree in art history from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. He was witness to the early development of Chinese contemporary art in the 1980s, and was on the organizing committee of the seminal “China/Avant-Garde Exhibition” in 1989.

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This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.