Monday presentation on Xu Beihong, Chang Yu, and the Heavenly Dog Society


Hi everyone,

My presentation tomorrow will be about modern Chinese painting, in particular two artists Xu Beihong and Chang Yu, and the Heavenly Dog Society painting association that they belonged to in Paris in the 1920s.  Some of my main concerns:

How to talk about Chang Yu not as aberration from the norm but rather representative of the modernist dilemma about realism, political detachment, and aesthetic radicalism.  

How to recuperate the work of Chang Yu as meaningful in the context of the development of modern Chinese painting, to carve out a space for him as a modern Chinese painter nota strange exception, a way to view some of the contradictions in the practice of modern Chinese art, the debates about nationalism and realism, and the study abroad experience for Chinese students in Paris.

The moment right around 1928 when we see Xu Beihong’s image transform from “transplanted bohemian”(Michael Sullivan) to national patriot; the critique of Chang Yu as remaining in a “transplanted bohemian” state as the reason for his failure to make it as a modern Chinese artist.

Here are links to a ChangYu exhibit that took place at the Musee Guimet in Paris in 2004 with some essays by art historians that you may find helpful if you have the time: