Devastation and Representation: The Yellow River

This week’s text by David Allen Pietz revealed just how imperative the Yellow River is to China’s (and arguably, the entire globe’s) ecological and economic stability. What stood out to me most was Pietz’s claim that “coupled with demographic growth, which is projected to continue until 2050, economic expansion will test the environmental capacity of … Read moreDevastation and Representation: The Yellow River

The fourth wall crumbles: intersections of disaster and aesthetics in Japanese history

Jennifer Weisenfeld’s poignant chapter in Imaging Disaster: Tokyo and the Visual Culture of Japan’s Great Earthquake of 1932 gave tons of insight on the spectacle and aesthetics of disaster in Japanese history, particularly regarding ‘divine punishment’ for a tumultuous political climate. As a fan of film history, Weisenfeld’s text prompted me to watch Kanto Taishin … Read moreThe fourth wall crumbles: intersections of disaster and aesthetics in Japanese history

The ‘Unbearable Gift of Memory’: Textiles, Materiality, & the Body

Catherine Dormor’s analysis of textile as viscous substance tied some of my personal research interests—namely materiality and its interactions with the body—into this week’s discussion. Taking Sartre’s definition of viscosity as that which is “neither material (and physical) nor psychic, about which transcends the opposition of the physical by revealing itself as an ontological expression … Read moreThe ‘Unbearable Gift of Memory’: Textiles, Materiality, & the Body

Faith and Colonialism in “Greco-Buddhism”

Is art history an inherently Western discipline? What problems arise when art historians study non-Western objects? In what ways do we see colonialism manifest in the study of Gandharan art during the late 19th century? Stanley K. Abe expertly addresses these lofty questions (and more) in his in-depth essay titled “Inside the Wonder House: Buddhist … Read moreFaith and Colonialism in “Greco-Buddhism”

The Brooklyn Museum’s Ainu Robe

”Here Japanese objects were presented alongside those of the Ainu, an Indigenous community in northern Japan of distinctly non-Japanese linguistic and ethnic identity. On the other hand, Japanese paintings were represented in the prints and drawing gallery, and other objects, such as ‘porcelain, metal work, lacquer ware, and netsuke, were displayed as ‘works of art’ … Read moreThe Brooklyn Museum’s Ainu Robe

“Intrinsically Chinese/Profoundly Anomalous”: Shanghai’s Modernism(s)

In “Shanghai Modern: Reflections on Urban Culture in China in the 1930s,” Leo Ou-fan Lee examines the many factors which contributed to the golden age of Shanghai urban culture. During the early twentieth century, Shanghai was the center of China’s new media culture, connected by the major nodes outlined in this chapter: architecture and urban … Read more“Intrinsically Chinese/Profoundly Anomalous”: Shanghai’s Modernism(s)

Wei Dong’s ‘Judge’

Judge, by the Chinese avant-garde artist Wei Dong (b. 1968), is modeled after the conventional deposition of Christ scene—I have included here depictions of this same scene by Raphael and Caravaggio for reference. Wei Dong’s adaptation of the scene features a hyper realistic nude Asian woman (so realistic, in fact, that upon first glance I thought Judge was … Read moreWei Dong’s ‘Judge’