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Symposium: Art and Materiality (Part II)

Presented in conjunction with the opening weekend of The Allure of Matter: Material Art from China, this scholarly symposium uses the lens of materiality to investigate topics central to the development and study of contemporary art in China.

Through panels and presentations, an international array of eighteen scholars and artists build on the foundation of The Allure of Matter, connecting the concept of materiality to Chinese art historically, and to contemporary art globally. The symposium opens with a keynote by esteemed art historian and exhibition co-curator Wu Hung. The first part of the symposium examines traditional materials in Chinese art—including pigments used in painting, glass, silk, and paper. The second part analyzes how new and often unconventional materials have impacted contemporary art practices across the globe.

FREE, but space is limited. Please register in advance. 


A detailed breakdown of speakers and topics can be found at theallureofmatter.org/symposium.

Thursday, February 6
Keynote by Wu Hung: Material Art

Friday, February 7
Part I: The Role of Materials in Premodern Chinese Art

Saturday, February 8
Part II: Materiality in Global Contemporary Art

This symposium is presented by the Smart Museum of Art together with the Center for the Art of East Asia in the Department of Art History at the University of Chicago. The keynote address is presented in collaboration with the fifth annual US-China Forum organized by UChicago Global, UChicago Arts, and the Smart Museum of Art.

Principal support for the symposium has been provided by Alphawood Foundation Chicago. Additional support is provided by The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation. The symposium is co-sponsored by the Center for East Asian Studies at the University of Chicago with generous support from a Title VI National Resource Center Grant from the U.S. Department of Education.  The US-China Forum is sponsored by the China-United States Exchange Foundation.

gu wenda, united nations: american code, 1995–2019. Human and synthetic hair, dimensions variable. Installation view, The Allure of Matter: Material Art from China, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 2019–2020. Photo © Museum Associates/LACMA.