Brief project description China package

Abstract

After decades of phenomenal growth China constitutes the second contemporary art market. This package focuses on the institutions that benefit from and facilitate this development, namely auctions, art fairs, and private museums, asking how artifacts, collections and their classifications reflect the shifting positions of China and Europe in the world. 

Brief project description

The Chinese presence in the global contemporary art market has grown phenomenally over the past decades, drawing our attention to three interconnected seismic shifts in the global art market. In the past, the circulation of artifacts was usually directed towards Europe, oftentimes as archaeological objects or plain colonial, neocolonial or postcolonial loot; at present, there is a flow back of Chinese artifacts into China. In the past, the global art market seemed largely confined to the North-Atlantic (Europe and North America) – at least in terms of financial value of the trade; at present, Asia is the emergent art market that rivals Europe, and China constitutes the second art market in the world, behind the US but before any European country. The third seismic shift concerns the privatization of artifacts in terms of their appropriation, collection and exhibition, as many of artifacts find their way into private collections and private museums via auction houses, art fairs and art dealers. This package focuses on these institutions that at once benefit from and facilitate this development, namely auctions, art fairs, and private museums, and asks how artifacts, collections and their classifications reflect the shifting positions of China and Europe in the world.