The New Social Environment#399

Abstractions in Chinese Aesthetics and Visual Culture

Featuring Johnson Chang, Pepe Karmel, Carol Yinghua Lu, and Paul Gladston


8 p.m. Eastern / 5 p.m. Pacific

Curators and art historians Johnson Chang, Pepe Karmel, and Carol Yinghua Lu join Rail contributor Paul Gladston for a conversation. We conclude with a poetry reading by Nancy Huang.

In this talk

Please note to accommodate the varying time zones of our guests, this conversation will take place 8pm ET New York (Monday October 4); 10am AET Sydney (Tuesday October 5); 8am CST Hong Kong & Beijing (Tuesday, October 5).

Johnson Chang

A portrait of Johnson Chang
Curator and gallerist Johnson Chang is the founder of Hanart TZ Gallery in Hong Kong, is a co-founder of the Asia Art Archive (AAA) in Hong Kong, and a guest professor of the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou. He has been active in curating Chinese exhibitions since the 1980s, and was co-curator of Farewell to Post-Colonialism, the Guangzhou Triennial in 2008, the Shanghai Biennale in 2012, and East Meets West at Saatchi Gallery in 2014. Recent projects include Jia Li Hall, a series of research on Confucian rites and aesthetics; West Heavens, Sino Indian exchange in art and social thought; and Inter-Asia School, which organized the Inter-Asia Biennale Forums at the Shanghai Biennial, Gwangju Biennial, Taipei Biennial, and Kochi-Muziris Biennale in 2014 and 2016.

Pepe Karmel

Pepe Karmel
Art historian Pepe Karmel teaches in the Department of Art History, New York University. Karmel is the author of two books, Picasso and the Invention of Cubism (2003) and Abstract Art: A Global History (2020), and he has written widely on modern and contemporary art for museum catalogues, as well as the New York Times, Art in America, the Brooklyn Rail, and other publications. He has curated or co-curated numerous exhibitions, including Robert Morris: Felt Works (Grey Art Gallery, New York, 1989), Jackson Pollock (MoMA, New York, 1998), and Dialogues with Picasso (Museo Picasso Málaga, 2020).

Carol Yinghua Lu

A portrait of Carol Yinghua Lu
Art critic and curator Carol Yinghua Lu is a PhD candidate in art history at the University of Melbourne. She is a contributing editor at Frieze, is on the advisory board of The Exhibitionist, and was on the jury for the Golden Lion Award at the 2011 Venice Biennale. She also served as co-artistic director of the 2012 Gwangju Biennale and co-curator of the 7th Shenzhen Sculpture Biennale in 2012. From 2012 to 2015, she was the artistic director and chief curator of OCAT Shenzhen and in 2013 she was the first visiting fellow in the Asia-Pacific Fellowship program at the Tate Research Centre. In collaboration with the artist Liu Ding, she is in the process of researching the legacy of Socialist Realism in the practice and historical narrative of contemporary art in China.

Paul Gladston

Photo of Paul Gladston
Award-winning critical theorist and cultural historian Paul Gladston is the Judith Neilson Chair Professor of Contemporary Art, University of New South Wales, Sydney and a distinguished affiliate fellow of the UK-China Humanities Alliance, Tsinghua University. He is co-editor of the book series Contemporary East Asian Visual Cultures, Societies and Politics and was founding principal editor of the Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art. His recent publications include the collected edition Visual Culture Wars at the Borders of Contemporary China (2021) and the monograph Contemporary Chinese Art, Aesthetic Modernity and Zhang Peili: Towards a Critical Contemporaneity (2019). He was an academic adviser to Art of Change: New Directions from China, Hayward Gallery, London (2012).

The Rail has a tradition of ending our conversations with a poetry reading, and we’re fortunate to have Nancy Huang reading.

Nancy Huang

A photograph of Nancy Huang
Poet Nancy Huang grew up in America and China. She is a VONA, Tin House, Watering Hole, and Pink Door fellow. She’s received an Andrew Julius Gutow Academy of American Poets Prize, a James F. Parker Poetry Award, a Michigan Young Playwright Award, and others. Her debut poetry collection Favorite Daughter (Write Bloody Publishing 2017), is out of print. She has a poetry MFA from NYU.

❤️ 🌈 We'd like to thank the The Terra Foundation for American Art for making these daily conversations possible, and for their support of our growing archive.