Skip over navigation
Tang Center Lecture Series

The Tang Center invites renowned scholars from around the world to deliver a series of lectures on a topic in East Asian art history. The Tang Center Lecture Series was inaugurated in 2003 as a forum for eminent scholars to present their current research, first in lectures and then in a published volume.

Registration: There is no registration fee to attend the Tang Center Lecture Series, but advance registration for the lecture series is recommended. Space is limited. Reservations will be accepted in the order they are received.

Robert E. Harrist Jr., Jane and Leopold Swergold Professor of Chinese Art History, Columbia University, will present the next Tang Center Lecture Series on 12 and 19 April 2016.


Harrist2016-245w.jpg
Spring 2016
Tang Center Lecture Series
Tuesday, 12 April 2016
Tuesday, 19 April 2016
5:00 pm, McCormick Hall
Robert E. Harrist, Jr.
Jane and Leopold Swergold Professor of Chinese Art History
Columbia University

Beyond Brush and Ink: Two Lectures on Medium, Image, and Landscape in China

Painting with ink made from pine soot mixed with glue and water, artists in China have created a vast inventory of landscape images on paper and silk. Landscapes in other mediums, whichare the subject of these lectures, imitate, allude to, or parody earlier traditions of ink painting. These works, which might be termed virtual paintings, include plaques of veined marble set in wooden frames, composite photographs bearing calligraphic inscriptions, computer-generated images, and installations that defy medium-specific categorization. These have their origins in the experience of looking at real paintings, and none can be fully understood or appreciated without knowledge of the history of landscape painting in China. Looking closely at these virtual landscapes offers the possibility of seeing ink painting in new ways and illuminates the fact that a medium is not merely a material for making art but a set of pictorial conventions.

Lecture 1. Stone Paintings and Landscapes Made by Chance
Tuesday, 12 April 2016
5:00 pm, McCormick Hall

No later than the Song dynasty (960-1279), collectors in China began to display plaques of streaked marble as if they were landscape paintings. Often mounted in pieces of furniture and later in stands and frames, these plaques were perceived not only as images of mountains and rivers but also as paintings in the styles of various old masters. Sets of stones included examples imagined to resemble paintings by Li Cheng, Guo Xi, Xia Gui, and other landscapists. The actual material for these landscapes consisted of nothing more than patterns produced by chance through natural processes. How the imaginative vision of collectors inducted the stones into an aesthetic realm defined by ink painting will be the subject of this lecture.

Lecture 2. Beyond Painting: Landscape and Other Mediums in Modern China
Tuesday, 19 April 2016
5:00 pm, McCormick Hall

Like the stone paintings discussed in the previous lecture, works produced through photographic processes, heterodox materials such as gunpowder, and unclassifiable mixed-media installations expand the possibilities for creating images of landscape far beyond the use of brush and ink. Focusing on Lang Jingshan (1892-1995), Cai Guoqiang (b. 1957), Xu Bing (b. 1955), and other artists, this lecture explores Chinese landscapes of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries that reflect the enduring cultural and artistic power of earlier traditions of ink painting.