Event Title

Interrogating Chineseness: David Diao's Da Hen Li House Cycle (2008)

Presenter Information

Elka Lee-Shapiro, Oberlin College

Location

Science Center A247

Start Date

10-27-2017 4:30 PM

End Date

10-27-2017 5:50 PM

Abstract

“What kind of art should an Asian American make?” Art critic David Rimanelli poses this question in his review of David Diao’s 1995 exhibition, The Bitter Tea of General Yen. Rimanelli’s question highlights the problem of essentialism in the art world, the notion that different groups of people have fixed characteristics that are innate and natural, narrow projections of identity that are then projected onto artists and the art they create. It is from the problem of essentialism in the art world that my project takes as a point of departure. My presentation focuses on one series of paintings by Diao in particular. In 2008, presented with an opportunity for his first solo show in China, Diao created a body of 36 paintings titled the Da Hen Li House Cycle, which showed in both Beijing and New York City in 2008-9. Contextualizing the series within an increasingly transnational art world system, I argue that Diao positions himself as a diasporic artist by highlighting the historical and cultural processes behind the formation of his identity, undermining essentializing constraints of the art world.

Notes

Session II, Panel 5 - Art | History
Moderator: Matthew Rarey, Assistant Professor of Art History

Major

Art History

Award

Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF)

Project Mentor(s)

Erik Inglis, Art History

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Oct 27th, 4:30 PM Oct 27th, 5:50 PM

Interrogating Chineseness: David Diao's Da Hen Li House Cycle (2008)

Science Center A247

“What kind of art should an Asian American make?” Art critic David Rimanelli poses this question in his review of David Diao’s 1995 exhibition, The Bitter Tea of General Yen. Rimanelli’s question highlights the problem of essentialism in the art world, the notion that different groups of people have fixed characteristics that are innate and natural, narrow projections of identity that are then projected onto artists and the art they create. It is from the problem of essentialism in the art world that my project takes as a point of departure. My presentation focuses on one series of paintings by Diao in particular. In 2008, presented with an opportunity for his first solo show in China, Diao created a body of 36 paintings titled the Da Hen Li House Cycle, which showed in both Beijing and New York City in 2008-9. Contextualizing the series within an increasingly transnational art world system, I argue that Diao positions himself as a diasporic artist by highlighting the historical and cultural processes behind the formation of his identity, undermining essentializing constraints of the art world.