Modernism Provides Common Language in Cross-cultural Dialogue

July 24th, 2012

Chicago, IL—Fifteen Chinese professors of Western art history will experience firsthand artworks they’ve previously encountered only through slides and reproductions when they visit New York City for the Advanced Workshop in Western Art and Art History: American Art and Modernism, from July 31 to August 11.

“The appetite for American art has grown considerably in China over the past decade, and we’re excited to help these art historians take their scholarship to the next level by experiencing in person works they’ve studied and lectured on,” explained Elizabeth Glassman, president & CEO of the Terra Foundation for American Art, which is co-sponsoring the program with the Henry Luce Foundation.

“Since the 1990s, we have supported several initiatives whose aim has been to promote dialogue and exchange between Chinese and Americans on art historical scholarship,” said Luce Foundation President Michael Gilligan. “This project will afford firsthand exposure to the wide variety of artistic practices and ideas that came out of the modernist movement in America.”

Organized and hosted by the Asian Cultural Council (ACC), the workshop will deliver an immersive experience of 19th and 20th-century American art and culture, combining topical lectures by experts in the field with visits to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Museum of Modern Art, International Center of Photography, Studio Museum of Harlem, and Dia: Beacon. Guest lecturers include professors Michael Leja, of the University of Pennsylvania; David Joselit, of Yale University; and Elizabeth Hutchinson, of Barnard College, among others.

“We are honored to collaborate with the Terra and Luce foundations on advancing the work of our visiting scholars through this major initiative,” said Jennifer Goodale, executive director of the Asian Cultural Council.  “ACC has a long history of promoting cultural exchange through innovative projects, and we cannot do this without our generous partners.”

Zhang Jian, of the China Academy of Art, in Hangzhou, expressed his expectation to gain “a more profound, comprehensive perspective of American modernism, which will be aroused by so many fascinating lectures…and the artworks displayed in various contexts in museums and art galleries of New York City.”

Like Professor Zhang, participating scholars represent a broad range of prestigious universities and art academies throughout China, such as Tsinghua University, Peking University, Central Academy of Fine Arts, Shanghai University, and Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts—key centers of higher learning in the field of art history.

Upon returning to China, each workshop participant will make presentations to colleagues and students, incorporating the content of the New York lectures and museum visits to provide current, scholarly, and critical perspectives of American art.

Asian Cultural Council

The Asian Cultural Council supports international dialogue, understanding, and respect through cultural exchange and nurtures the individual talents of artists and scholars in Asia and the United States. The ACC grew out of John D. Rockefeller 3rd‘s vision that opening up new avenues of cultural exchange between Asia and the United States would not only enrich the lives of individuals, but also help lay the groundwork for greater international cooperation. For nearly 50 years, ACC programs have supported the research, study, and creative work of almost 6,000 individuals from Asia and the United States. The ACC is headquartered in New York with representation in Hong Kong, Manila, Taipei, and Tokyo and is supported by a combination of endowment income and contributions from foundations, corporations, and individual donors from the United States and Asia. The ACC has supported a number of scholarly and creative workshops involving exchange between arts specialists from Asia and the United States.

Henry Luce Foundation

The Henry Luce Foundation was established in 1936 by Henry R. Luce, the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Time Inc., to honor his parents who were missionary educators in China. The Foundation seeks to bring important ideas to the center of American life, strengthen international understanding, and foster innovation and leadership in academic, policy, religious and art communities. With assets of about $750 million, the Foundation has distributed more than $140 million for American art research and close to $165 million for efforts to strengthen understanding between the United States and the countries of East and Southeast Asia through education, scholarship and exchange.

Terra Foundation for American Art

Established in 1978, the Terra Foundation for American Art is dedicated to fostering the exploration, understanding, and enjoyment of the visual arts of the United States. With financial resources of more than $250 million, an exceptional collection of American art from the colonial era to 1945, and an expansive grant program, it is one of the leading foundations focused on American art, and devotes approximately $12 million annually in support of American art exhibitions, projects, and research worldwide.