Performing Identities: Contemporary Chinese Art in the Transnational Context

Open lecture with Professor Jane Chin Davidson, Art History, Global Cultures, California State University, San Bernardino.

In the new global expansion of contemporary art, Chinese artists have contributed a diversity of subjects and narratives for understanding identity from the different cultural geographies of China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the United States. Notwithstanding the specific contexts for these locations of culture, the transnational development of artistic practices and conceptual vocabularies enables the sharing of poetic meanings and aesthetic ideas. The most innovative expressions among them are those by women artists who engage in environmental issues, addressing the most pressing problems affecting our global society today. Contemporary art can serve a unique social function by offering different perspectives for viewing the exigencies of life in the climate generation.

After the lecture, there will be a reception from (approx.17:00-18:00).


Jane Chin Davidson is an art historian whose research in contemporary art focuses on performances of diasporic Chinese identities in relation to locations and sites for a global culture (she was born in Hong Kong and emigrated with her family to the United States). She is a researcher of decolonizing processes for global exhibitions and curatorial subjects of transnationalism, feminism, and performance art – eco-art, eco-feminism.

Front cover of Staging Art and Chineseness: the Politics of Transnationalism and Global Expositions, Manchester University Press, paperback release (2022)

Her recent publications include the forthcoming Contemporary Art in a Global Framework, co-edited with Amelia Jones (Blackwell 2023); the monograph Staging Art and Chineseness: Politics of Trans/Nationalism and Global Expositions (MUP, 2022 in paperback); and the co-edited special journal issue “Okwui Enwezor: The Art of Curating” for NKA: Journal of African Art (2021) the journal founded by Enwezor, among many journal articles and chapters in edited books. Her speaking engagements include her talk for the European Cultural Center with artists in the Personal Structures exhibition at the 2022 Venice Biennale. She has served on editorial boards such as CAA’s Art Journal (2017-2021) and currently WEAD (Women’s Eco Art Dialogue) Magazine, her professional awards include the 2022 Visiting Fellowship at the Institute of Advanced Studies, Loughborough University, UK and the National Women’s Studies Association’s Women of Color Leadership Project, 2017-19. She was awarded an ESRC Research Fellowship after completing her PhD with top honours as Postgraduate of the Year in Art History and Visual Studies at the University of Manchester, UK, and her BA in Art History from Reed College.