Solving the East/West Conundrum in Modern Chinese Art
Martin J. Powers, Sally Michelson Davidson Professor of Chinese Arts and Cultures and former director, Center for Chinese Studies, University of Michigan. At the beginning of the 20th century, artists in China found themselves in a no-win situation: if they made use of Chinese brushwork, their art was considered "traditional," and if they adapted European or modernist methods, it was called "derivative." We may call this the East/West conundrum in modern Chinese art. Against the background of a long history of cultural competition in China, Martin J. Powers explores several ways in which Chinese artists managed to transcend the East/West conundrum in recent decades. Professor Powers delivered this lecture in both English and Mandarin on February 19, 2012, at the National Gallery of Art.