Transience: Chinese Experimental Art at the End of the Twentieth Century

In a groundbreaking approach to avant-garde Chinese art, the Smart Museum of Art's 1999 exhibition Transience established a historical framework for current artistic production in China.

Like the exhibition, the catalogue presents the paintings, sculptures, photographs, videos, and installations in three thematically linked sections: "Demystification," "Ruins," and "Transience."

The twenty-one featured artists come from different parts of mainland China or are living abroad in Europe and the United States, and their styles and modes of expression vary. Many of these artists derive materials techniques, and concepts from both western and traditional Chinese aesthetics as they address the relationship between regionalism and globalization in contemporary art.


Wu Hung

Publication date

December 2005


Revised edition; 216 pages | 72 color plates, 46 halftones | 7-1/2 x 11



Purchase this catalogue

Available for $40 online from the University of Chicago Press or in person at the Smart Museum Shop.