The New Social Environment#479

Abstractions in Chinese Visual Culture and Aesthetics, Part II

Featuring Johnson Chang, David Humphreys, and Paul Gladston


8 p.m. Eastern / 5 p.m. Pacific

Curator and art historian Johnson Chang and former Australian diplomat to Hong Kong David Humphreys join Rail contributor Paul Gladston for the second installment of a conversation on abstractions in Chinese visual culture and aesthetics. We conclude with a poetry reading by Maw Shein Win.

In this talk

Please note to accommodate the varying time zones of our guests, this conversation will take place 8pm ET New York (Monday January 24); 9am CST Hong Kong & Beijing (Tuesday, January 25); 12pm AET Sydney (Tuesday January 25)

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.

David Humphreys

Picture of David Humphreys.
Most recently, David Humphreys has been with the Australian corporate regulator, ASIC. He completed a Master of Laws at the University of Hong Kong, graduating with distinction in Chinese trade law, UK/Australian restitutionary remedies and the gamut of commercial security. David’s initial law degree was obtained at the University of Sydney. Prior to his regulatory role, David was for 19 years a political officer with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade. David devoted more than four years to intensive Thai and Mandarin language training. His last posting as a diplomat was as Consul in Hong Kong in the years before and after the 1997 handover, focusing on China’s political economy.

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 Maw Shein Win reading.

Maw Shein Win

A portrait of Maw Shein Win by Annabelle Port
Poet Maw Shein Win’s chapbooks are Ruins of a glittering palace (SPA/Commonwealth Projects) and Score and Bone (Nomadic Press). Invisible Gifts: Poems was published by Manic D Press in 2018. Win is the first poet laureate of El Cerrito, California (2016 - 2018). Her full-length poetry collection Storage Unit for the Spirit House (Omnidawn) was long listed for the PEN America Open Book Award, nominated for a Northern California Book Award for Poetry, and short listed for the California Independent Booksellers Alliance’s Golden Poppy Award for Poetry for 2021. She often collaborates with visual artists, musicians, and other writers and was a Spring 2021 ARC Poetry Fellow at UC Berkeley.

❤️ 🌈 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.