Tang Center Art and Archaeology Princeton University

Graduate Symposium in East Asian Art

16 February 2008 · 101 McCormick Hall, Princeton University

Organized by the P.Y. and Kinmay W. Tang Center for East Asian Art, Princeton University

Throughout history artists have created works as a form of opposition, whether to a dominant political order or to familiar social mores and conventions. This polemical mode of conceiving and interpreting art continues: artists frequently present their own work as a challenge to the status quo, while scholars and critics of contemporary art reinforce the notion that for art to be relevant it must at some level present a critique of prevailing habits and attitudes. For art historians, the concept of art as a form of protest or a challenge to established convention remains a frequent point of departure for research, particularly in relation to certain artists or in the study of specific historical junctures. The means by which artists convey opposition may be subtle or explicit; likewise, the targets of artists' opposition range widely, from the commonly-accepted ways by which art is created, disseminated, and understood, to widely-acknowledged political and social ills. This symposium aims to explore the long-standing notion of art as opposition, and to examine its implications for the study of East Asian art.