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Styles & Periods
Contemporary Art in Asia

Defining contemporary art in Asia is a monumental task. At the very least, a cursory awareness of Asia's myriad religions, traditions, languages and ethnicities is required. One unexpected and often under-appreciated aspect of life in Asia today is the hybridization of cultures and traditions. In Japan, masters of ceramics are deemed “living treasures,” while artists and designers have allied to blur the boundaries between art and fashion. In much of Southeast Asia, American pop culture is an influential force, and has been appropriated and combined with aspects of native culture and tradition. The culture of the West has been voraciously consumed in Asia, only to be processed in manners unique to each particular culture. Contemporary Art in China, also known as the Chinese avant-garde, maintains a precarious relationship with the government. Though Chinese modern art began to achieve tremendous popularity worldwide in the late 20th century, there is still limited transparency into the Chinese art world, and exhibitions which are deemed inappropriate are still subject to closure. The role of women, indigenous traditions and religion also play a central role in the work of artists in Asia. In India, sculptor Ravinder Reddy creates gilded and decorated heads that recall caste systems and female roles. Thailand’s Montien Boonma invites viewers to walk into personal meditation spaces shaped from metal. Certainly much of the art of Asia today expresses the shock of rapid political, economic, and social transformation.

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