About Beauty -The Curators

Exhibition: Wu Hung

Wu Hung originally read art history at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing before moving to Harvard, where he completed his doctorate in 1987. After teaching there until 1994, he then took up a position at the University of Chicago. At present, he is the Harrie A. Vanderstappen Distinguished Service Professor in Chinese Art History, Director of the Center for the Art of East Asia, and Consulting Curator of the Smart Museum of Art. In the middle of the 1980s, Wu Hung organised a series of exhibitions on contemporary Chinese art for Harvard University / Adams House, showing works by many artists who have since become well-known, for example, Chen Danquing, Luo Zhongji, Mu Xin, Quiu Deshu and Zhang Hongtu. In 1999/2000, he curated Transience: Chinese Experimental Art at the End of the Twentieth Century and Canceled: Exhibiting Experimental Art in China and Chicago; he was also head curator of the first Guangzhou Triennial 1999-2000 (Reinterpretation: A Decade of Experimental Art in China). He has published widely on traditional and contemporary Chinese art, and received numerous awards for his books and essays including, for example, the 1999 Joseph Levenson Prize from the Association for Asian Studies for the best publication on traditional Chinese art (The Wu Liang Shrine: The Ideology of Early Chinese Pictorial Art), and the 1998 Haskin Award of the Association of American Publishers for his co-authored work Three Thousand Years of Chinese Painting. In 1996, Choice awarded his Monumentality in Early Chinese Art and Architecture the accolade of “Outstanding Academic Publication”, while, in 1999, Artforum listed it as one of the “Best Books of the 90s”.

About Beauty - Curatorial statement by Wu Hung

Thematic projects and conference: Ackbar Abbas

Ackbar Abbas is Director of the Interdisciplinary Centre for the Study of Globalization and Cultures (CSGC) and Chair of Comparative Literature at the University of Hong Kong. His work uses a diverse range of subjects, including cinema and architecture, visual culture, and fashion, to challenge common understandings of the post-modern urban condition. He holds numerous Fellowships and Visiting Professorships: 1979-80 Visiting Fellowship Princeton University/USA; 1986 International Fellowship, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee/USA; 1986 Visiting Professor at the University of Stockholm / Sweden; 1991 Visiting Professor Tsing Hua University/Taiwan; 1993 Visiting Professor at Northwestern University in Evanston/USA; 1998 bursary from the International Center for Advanced Studies, New York University/USA. He has published widely on a range of topics, including photography and modern Chinese painting. Selected publications: The Asian City Reader, (with Ramesh Kumar Biswas), 2004; Shanghai Reflections: Architecture, Urbanism and the Search for an Alternative Modernity (with Mario Gandelsonas, M. Christine Boyer), 2002; Contemporary Practices: Art As Experience (with Paul Ardenne, Pascal Beausse, Laurent Goumarre), 1999; Building Hong Kong: from Migrancy to Disappearance, in: Postcolonial Studies, Vol 1, No. 2, 1998; Hong Kong: Culture and the Politics of Disappearance, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1997; On Fascination: Walter Benjamin’s Images, in: New German Critique, No. 48, Fall 1989.

Performing arts: Johannes Odenthal

Johannes Odenthal is Head of Department for Music, Dance and Theatre at Berlin’s House of World Cultures. In addition to his work in designing performing arts programmes for the House of World Cultures’ various major themed exhibitions since 1997, he has also played a significant part as co-curator in shaping the IN TRANSIT festival, running for the fourth time in 2005. Before joining HWC, he was chief editor/ managing editor of Ballett International – Tanz aktuell, a magazine he co-founded in 1993 with Gerhard Friedrich, having previously run Tanz Aktuell as managing editor from 1987-1993. Johannes Odenthal’s knowledge of and commitment to the performing arts is clearly reflected in the way he has always used his platform as curator, journalist, and dance theorist to encourage and foster innovation and interculturalism in the contemporary German dance scene.