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US-China Forum 2020

US-China Forum 2020: The Matter of Art

Watch the Highlights


Watch the videos below to experiences the discussions and performances that took place at the US-China Forum 2020: The Matter of Art


Forum Highlights


Welcoming Remarks and Introduction



Robert J. Zimmer, President, The University of Chicago
Bala Srinivasan, Executive Vice President for Science, Innovation, and Strategy; Chief International Officer; Deputy Provost, The University of Chicago
ZHAO Jian, Consul General, Consulate of the People's Republic of China in Chicago

The Art Approach 



YANG Dongjiang, Professor; Director, Academic Committee; Associate Dean, Academy of Arts and Design, Tsinghua University; Vice Chairman, China National Interior Decoration Association, China Industrial Design Association; Member, Board of Directors, China Artists Association 

Urban Inventory: Composing Soundscapes of Modern China


Performance of Wang Lu's Urban Inventory



Julie Y. Chu, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Social Sciences in the College; Director of Graduate Studies, The University of Chicago
Jennifer Iverson, Assistant Professor, Department of Music, The University of Chicago
WANG Lu, David S. Josephson Assistant Professor of Music, Brown University 


Ensemble Dal Niente

Mel Chin and Geof Oppenheimer: A Conversation on Social Practice


Orianna Cacchione, Curator of Global Contemporary Art, The Smart Museum of Art; Lecturer, Contemporary Art, Asian Art, Department of Art History, The University of Chicago
Mel Chin, Artist; MacArthur Fellow 2019
Geof Oppenheimer, Associate Professor of Practice & Director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of Visual Arts, The University of Chicago

Miao Ying: Reality Should Not Hold You Back


Bill Brown, Karla Scherer Distinguished Service Professor in American Culture, Department of English, Visual Arts and the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality, The University of Chicago
Patrick Jagoda, Professor, Department of English, Cinema and Media Studies, and Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality (Affiliate); Co-founder, Game Changer Chicago Design Lab; Co-founder, Transmedia Story Lab, The University of Chicago; Co-editor, Critical Inquiry 
MIAO Ying, Artist, Writer

Xu Bing: Making Meaning


Rachel DeWoskin, Associate Professor of Practice in the Arts, Department of English, Centers for East Asian Studies and Jewish Studies (Affiliate), The University of Chicago
Haun Saussy, University Professor, Department of Comparative Literature and East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Committee on Social Thought, The University of Chicago 
XU Bing, Artist

Closing Keynote Address


WU Hung, Harrie A. Vanderstappen Distinguished Service Professor of Art History and the College, The University of Chicago; Adjunct Curator, Smart Museum of Art


About the US-China Forum 2020: The Matter of Art

The US-China Forum 2020: The Matter of Art was convened by UChicago Arts and UChicago Global in collaboration with the Smart Museum of Art, and explored how China and the United States intersect, interact, and overlap through the arts. The program featured in-depth conversations between renowned artists and distinguished UChicago faculty members. From XU Bing’s experiments in language, to MIAO Ying’s playful and complex internet-generated art, to the composition of city soundscapes in WANG Lu’s Urban Inventory, the US-China Forum offered a rare opportunity to hear from some of the most innovative artists working today and to experience the critical dialogue generated by their work. The forum set the stage for the exhibition, The Allure of Matter, co-presented by the Smart Museum of Art and Wrightwood 659. Curated by WU Hung and Orianna Cacchione, the exhibition offers an extraordinary and comprehensive exploration of the state of contemporary art in China.

About the US-China Forum

This is the fifth year of the University of Chicago’s partnership with the China-United States Exchange Foundation to produce the US-China Forum. Each year, the forum brings together renowned experts from the University of Chicago and China for high-level engagements focused on issues of importance to both countries and, by extension, the world. It is intended to spur long-term research collaborations between Chinese and University of Chicago researchers. Previous years’ forums addressed economic relations, urban innovation, water and urban development, and energy policy.

The Allure of Matter: Material Art from China

The Allure of Matter features two- and three-dimensional works made from a range of unique and humble materials, like melted plastic, paper-thin porcelain, and 300,000 iron nails. These works, many monumental in scale, explore how conscious material choice has become a symbol of expression for a number of leading Chinese contemporary artists working over the last four decades. The artists in the exhibition range from those in the early stages of their career, including HE Xiangyu, HU Xiaoyuan, and MA Qiusha, to such internationally celebrated practitioners as AI Weiwei, CAI Guo-Qiang, LIN Tianmiao, XU Bing, and YIN Xiuzhen. The Allure of Matter is divided into two unique halves at the Smart Museum (26 works by 16 artists) and Wrightwood 659 (23 works by 14 artists). To fully experience the exhibition, guests are encouraged to visit both locations. Visit to learn more.