Image of Mu Boyan, Fatty Series, shown at the Eighth Shanghai Biennale in 2010
Image of Mu Boyan, Fatty Series, shown at the Eighth Shanghai Biennale in 2010
Mu Boyan, Fatty Series, shown at the Eighth Shanghai Biennale in 2010

Modern and contemporary art is founded on a pre-history of art types and concepts of the modern which in the case of Shanghai go back to the 1850s. The Shanghai Biennale emerges in 2005 from this historical dynamic which is marked in the 2000s by several stages of building new, large art museums of contemporary art. The way the state, large collectors and corporations provided these museums and the extent to which their exhibitions were influenced by the Shanghai Biennale, by international art works and notions of curatorial practice, form the principal, intertwined subjects of this paper. The role of spectacular spaces in requiring spectacular art works, and the subsequent ‘Biennalization’ of private museum art practices is also examined, together with some suggestions made about the way Biennales might develop in future.

Emeritus Professor John Clark

John Clark, is Professor Emeritus in Art History at the University of Sydney, the author of five books and editor or co-editor of another five. His Asian Modernities: Chinese and Thai art of the 1980s and 1990s, Sydney, Power Publications, 2010, is a pioneering work in cross-disciplinary inter-Asian comparison of modern art and art worlds, and won the Best Art Book Prize of the Art Association of Australia and New Zealand in 2011. After his Modernities of Chinese Art, Leiden: Brill, 2010, his most recent book is Modernities of Japanese Art, Leiden: Brill, 2013. He has completed the draft of a two-volume study, The Asian Modern, 1850s – 1990s which includes detailed comparative studies of more than twenty-five Asian artists in five generations between 1850s and 1990s, as well as two volumes of materials for the artists. His Contemporary Asian Art at Biennials which includes a special chapter on China at Biennials is scheduled for publication by National University of Singapore Press in mid-2017.

Also active as a curator, he co-curated Modern Boy, Modern Girl: Modernity in Japanese Art, 1910-1935, at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in 1998, and in 2014 co-curated an exhibition of the work of Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook in Sydney and Canberra.

Date: 6.00pm – 7.30pm, 28th March 2017

Where: New Law School Lecture Theatre 104, The University of Sydney NSW 2006

For more infoirmation and to register visit the website:,-shanghai-and-its-biennale2