Art Review Asia: Interview with Xu Bing


Xu Bing is one of the most internationally recognisable Chinese artists, through his art that for many years has addressed issues of cultural and symbolic communication, and for his role as Vice-President of the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in Beijing. Born in Chongqing in 1955, Xu earned his bachelor degree at CAFA in 1981, staying on as an instructor afterwards. He left China in 1990 to teach at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, living and working in the United States for 18 years before returning again to China in 2008 to take up his current position. CAFA is one a set of eight academies that represent the official route to recognition as an artist, in China. Xu’s appointment as the head of CAFA represented a loosening of the forms of art acceptable within the academic system, opening the doors to a more general embrace of contemporary art in China’s academia. In 2008 CAFA opened its onsite Museum in a building designed by the Japanese architect Arata Isozaki, which Xu proudly describes as “the best museum in China,” and it was here that Xu sat down with Art Review to discuss academic life in China and his part in it.

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Tate Moden (sic)

Ma Yongfeng and Lv Zhiqiang outside the Tate Moden

Ma Yongfeng and Lv Zhiqiang outside the Tate Moden

Lv Zhiqiang 吕智强, a student at the Central Academy of Fine Arts, has unveiled the newest outpost of the Tate empire in Beijing’s 798 Art District. The Tate Moden has been put together with material scavenged from the College’s art waste, and relocated from CAFA’s campus this weekend. He’ll be hosting shows presumably until he gets shut down. Find him on Seven Star West Road 七星西街 (behind the coach).

UPDATE: Tate Moden lasted a week before it was asked to leave.