A discussion of the Shanghai Biennale and satellite exhibitions that took place twenty years ago at a moment of critical transformation and change in the trajectory of Chinese contemporary art exhibitions and practice. Taking as its point of departure the book Uncooperative Contemporaries: Art Exhibitions in Shanghai in 2000, recently published by Afterall in association with Asia Art Archive and CCS Bard, this event was structured as three short conversations between: Shanghai Biennale 2000 co-curator Hou Hanru and Tom Eccles, Executive Director, CCS Bard; artist Ken Lum whose work was included in this Biennale and Pauline J. Yao, Lead Curator, Visual Art, at M+ in Hong Kong; and artist Yang Zhenzhong, who co-organized the satellite show Useful Life that included his work and others, and Anthony Yung, Researcher at Asia Art Archive. Co-presented by Asia Art Archive in America and CCS Bard, these conversations were followed by a Q&A with the audience.
Tom Eccles is executive director of the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, where he also oversees the exhibitions and programs of the Hessel Museum of Art. From 1995 to 2005 he was the director of the Public Art Fund in New York City. Eccles has been a curator for the Park Avenue Armory since 2007 and has organized numerous public projects, exhibitions and talks programs within the United States and internationally. He has been a core-group adviser to the LUMA Foundation since 2007.
Hou Hanru is a prolific writer and curator based in Rome, Paris and San Francisco. He serves currently as the artistic director of MAXXI (the National Museum for 21st Century Art and National Museum of Architecture) in Rome. Over the last three decades he has curated and co-curated more than 100 exhibitions around the world, including China/Avant-Garde (National Museum of Art of China, Beijing, 1989), Cities On The Move(multiple cities, 1997–2000), the 2000 Shanghai Biennale and the 2002 Gwangju Biennale. Most recently, Hou Hanru curated Zhang Enli: A Room That Can Move, the largest and most comprehensive solo exhibition ever dedicated to the Chinese artist, on view at Power Station of Art (PSA) in Shanghai through 7 March 2021.
Ken Lum is known for his conceptual and representational art in a number of media, including painting, sculpture, and photography. He currently is the Chair of Fine Arts at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design in Philadelphia. A co-founder and founding editor of Yishu: Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art, he is a prolific writer with numerous published articles, catalog essays, and juried papers. In 2000, he worked as co-editor of the Shanghai Biennale. In 2012, Ken founded Monument Lab with Paul Farber, an independent public art and history studio based in Philadelphia that works with artists, students, activists, municipal agencies, and cultural institutions on exploratory approaches to public engagement and collective memory.
Yang Zhenzhong was born in 1968 in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, and is currently based in Shanghai. As a practicing artist, Yang works primarily in the field of conceptual art with media that spans from video, photography and installation to painting and sculpture. As a curator, he has collaborated with artists in Shanghai since the late 1990s and planned and initiated exhibitions including Art For Sale, Dial 62761232: Express Art Exhibition, Hipic, and dozens of other shows and projects. Selected solo exhibitions include: Surveillance and Panorama, Tang Contemporary Art, Beijing (2018); Eternal Return, Moscow Manege Museum and Exhibition Association, Russia (2014); and Trespassing: YANG Zhenzhong Solo Exhibition, OCT Contemporary Art Terminal, Shanghai (2013). The artist’s works have previously exhibited in numerous prominent exhibitions including Venice Biennale (2003, 2007), Shanghai Biennale (2002, 2016), Guangzhou Biennial (2002, 2005, 2012), and Asia Pacific Triennale of Contemporary Art (2006).
Pauline J. Yao is Lead Curator, Visual Art, at M+. She has held curatorial positions at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco and worked as an independent curator and writer in Beijing for six years, during which time she helped co-found the storefront art space Arrow Factory. Since joining M+ in 2012, Yao has played a leading role in building the visual art collection by overseeing and acquiring works from around Asia and beyond. She is responsible for acquisitions, research, and interpretation of Visual Art at M+, including sub-areas of Ink Art and Hong Kong Visual Culture; and serves as the co-editor of PODIUM, M+’s online publication. Recent curatorial projects include M+ Pavilion exhibitions In Search of Southeast Asia through the M+ Collections (with Shirley Surya, 2018) and Five Artists: Sites Encountered (2019). Yao is a regular contributor to Artforum International and her writings on contemporary Asian art have appeared in numerous catalogues, online publications, and edited volumes.
Based in Hong Kong and Shanghai, Anthony Yung is Asia Art Archive’s Researcher specializing in Greater China. Representative projects include Materials of the Future: Documenting Contemporary Chinese Art from 1980-1990, which features over one hundred filmed interviews of artists, critics, and scholars. Yung was recipient of the Fourth Yishu Award for Critical Writing on Contemporary Chinese Art (2014) and served as the co-curator of A Hundred Years of Shame – Songs of Resistance and Scenarios for Chinese Nations (2015, Para Site Art Space, Hong Kong).