Course Code


Course Name

Chinese Art in the World after 1900: Aesthetics and History


Monday 1:30-4:15pm


WMY 301


Elaine Yin Ning KWOK

Teaching Assistant

Mavis SIU

Course Description

This course looks at the history and aesthetics of various arts in China (painting, calligraphy, photography, sculpture, architecture, installation, performance art, video or digital art, etc.), their role in Chinese culture, and in shaping the characteristics of Chinese art in the global context. The following themes will be dealt with: the aesthetic evaluation of these arts and their unique artistic features;; the roles of the artist and the spectator in the context of globalization;; the
transformation of Chinese art from a perspective of cross-­cultural exchange;; the influence of Chinese art on the West;; the aesthetic valuation of expressiveness and descriptiveness in art;; and the cultural correlation between art and society. Historically, the course will cover the following areas: the artistic importance of the Lingnan School paintings in the late Qing dynasty (c.1850-­1911), the evolution of Western and traditional painting in China (1911-­1949), the art development during the Cultural Revolution (1966-­1976), the cross-­cultural exchange between Chinese art and Western art (1976-­1989), and the question of “Chineseness” under the conditions of globalization and digitization (1989-­now). We will deal with these topics by examining major works of art and by analyzing primary texts as well as contemporary scholarly writings. 

Course Outline

Detailed Course Outline is available on Blackboard.

Week 1: The Global Context for Chinese Art: 20th-­Century Western Art

Week 2: (before 1900) Summary of Chinese Art History

Week 3: (1900-­1966) The New & the Old: Traditional & Foreign Influences

Week 4: (1966-­1989) The Modern and the Post-­Modern

Week 5: (1989-­now) Chinese Art and the Individual

Week 6: (1989-­now) Chinese Art and the Global Cities

Week 7: (after 1900) Chinese Art in the World

Week 8: (after 1900) Hong Kong Art: The Colonial and the Post-­Colonial

Week 9: Field Trip: Art & Cultural Places

Week 10: Exhibition Curatorial Writing

Week 11: Seminar Topic 1: Cross-­Cultural Exchange in the Global Context

Week 12: Seminar Topic 2: Orientalism and Exoticism

Week 13: Seminar Topic 3: Post-­Modernism and Globalism

Week 14: Seminar Topic 4: The City and the Body in Art

Assessment & Assignments

Seminar presentation (30%)

Exhibition curatorial leaflet (20%)

Final paper (50%)

Honesty in Academic Work

Attention is drawn to University policy and regulations on honesty in academic work, and to the disciplinary guidelines and procedures applicable to breaches of such policy and regulations. Details may be found at

With each assignment, students will be required to submit a signed declaration that they are aware of these policies, regulations, guidelines and procedures.

  • In the case of group projects, all members of the group should be asked to sign the declaration, each of whom is responsible and liable to disciplinary actions, irrespective of whether he/she has signed the declaration and whether he/she has contributed, directly or indirectly, to the problematic contents.
  • For assignments in the form of a computer-generated document that is principally text-based and submitted via VeriGuide, the statement, in the form of a receipt, will be issued by the system upon students’ uploading of the soft copy of the assignment.

Assignments without the properly signed declaration will not be graded by teachers.

Only the final version of the assignment should be submitted via VeriGuide.

The submission of a piece of work, or a part of a piece of work, for more than one purpose (e.g. to satisfy the requirements in two different courses) without declaration to this effect shall be regarded as having committed undeclared multiple submissions. It is common and acceptable to reuse a turn of phrase or a sentence or two from one’s own work; but wholesale reuse is problematic. In any case, agreement from the course teacher(s) concerned should be obtained prior to the submission of the piece of work.