Taking Ai Weiwei’s Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads and their complex history as a starting point, the symposium at the Cleveland Museum of Art aims to explore the question of how contemporary Chinese artists position themselves in between the demands and mechanisms of an art market that is international in scope and the attempt to produce works that not only relate to and consider Chinese history, culture, and politics but that actually have an impact on current developments and conditions.
Speakers will address a variety of issues, including:
- How can Chinese contemporary artists make sure that they are perceived within their home country without absenting themselves from the global discourse and market?
- What are the opportunities and limitations for artists working in China today and how is it possible to bring these specific rules of the game into a constructive dialogue with the global discourse?
- In a globalized environment that "exports artists" through the international market at an extraordinarily fast pace, how is it possible to ensure that art maintains its original genesis and theoretical framework and continues to exert its intended influence?
Free, reservations recommended. Reserve tickets through the Ticket Center at (216) 421-7350 or online.
Schedule of Events
1:00 PM, Ames Family Atrium
Reto Thüring, Associate Curator of Contemporary Art
The Zodiac Heads in Context
Art historian, author, and curator Charles Merewether discusses Ai Weiwei’s ongoing engagement with China’s political and cultural issues.
2:00 PM, North Court Lobby, Ames Family Atrium
3:00 PM, Recital Hall (Reservations required.)
I Do Not Know
Writer, curator, producer, and artist Li Zhenhua shares perspectives on the complexities of museums, politics, and social situations in China through the work of Ai Weiwei.
Through a dialogue with the audience, Reto Thüring, Li Zhenhua, and Charles Merewether delve into issues explored throughout the symposium.
Dr. Charles Merewether is an art historian, writer and curator who has worked in Australia, Europe and the Americas. He worked as collections curator at the Getty Center in Los Angeles from 1994-2004. Between 2004 and 2006, he was artistic director and curator of the 2006 Biennale of Sydney and senior research fellow at the Centre for Cross Cultural Research, Australian National University. In October 2007, he was appointed deputy director of the Cultural District for the Tourist Development and Investment Company, Abu Dhabi. Since March 2010 he is Director at Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore.
Dr. Charles Merewether has taught at the University of Sydney, Universitat Autònoma in Barcelona, the Ibero-Americana in Mexico City and the University of Southern California, and has lectured at the Beijing Academy of Art, Lingnan University in Hong Kong and the Asia Research Center at the National University of Singapore.
Recent edited and co-edited publications include: Beijing-Venice-London: Ai Weiwei-Herzog & de Meuron (London/Basel, 2008), Art, Anti-Art, Non-Art: Experimentations in the Public Sphere in Postwar Japan 1950-1970 (Los Angeles, 2007) and The Archive (London/Mass.,2006)
Li Zhenhua is a writer, curator, producer and artist living in Beijing/Shanghai and Zurich. He is the founder of Laboratory Art Beijing  and the Mustard Seed Garden , and in 2010 he was working for theShanghai eARTS Festival as chief planner. He has participated in new media art symposiums, talks, presentations in leading galleries and museum spaces around the world, such as talks in ZKM Karlsruhe (2003), Walker Art Center Minneapolis  (curated the WAVE project), Guangzhou Museum (as artist of the Guangzhou Triennale 2005), Synthetic Times: Media Art China 2008 (worked as producer), and Nanjing Triennial 2008 (worked as curator).