Customs and Imagination: Canadian public art in China focuses on a selection of art projects that were initiated, participated, or witnessed by Canadian artists and took place in various urban spaces in contemporary China from the mid-90s to present. Some of the projects were informally staged to confront the brutal reality of drastic urbanization in China at different junctures as an artistic expression of public protest, while some were formally invited to “correct” or improve previous development in the name of regeneration. However, friction and misconception are the inevitable by-products of cultural exchange, be it ideological, intellectual, political, or/and artistic. Especially in the context of public art, the expected notions of “public” and of “art” are rather site-specific. Then, from the perspective of cultural producer/exporter, how do we navigate, negotiate, and adapt without compromising integrity? Can the inherent friction and misconception be a productive space to generate new customs and new forms?
Moderator: Yan Wu, curator-in- residence at the Art Museum of the University of Toronto
Panelists: Adrian Blackwell, Assistant Professor at the University of Waterloo School of Architecture; James Carl, Professor in the School of Fine art and Music at the University of Guelph; Yam Lau, Professor, York University, Toronto.