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POSTPONED TO FALL 2020: Jenny Lin, Associate Professor of Critical Studies, USC

Above Sea/Underground: Cross-Cultural Currents in and around Global Shanghai

W.M. Keck Lecture Hall
March 11, 2020 at 7:00pm

Jenny Lin is Associate Professor of Critical Studies at the University of Southern California. She received her MA and PhD in Art History from the University of California, Los Angeles, and BA in Architectural Studies and Italian Studies from Brown University. Lin’s research explores modern and contemporary art and design vis-à-vis urbanization, globalization, and decolonization. Her first book, Above sea: Contemporary art, urban culture and the fashioning of global Shanghai, investigates art, architecture, and fashion created in and about cosmopolitan Shanghai. Her additional writings on varied topics (e.g., Italian-Chinese fashion exchanges, Fluxus cooperatives in SoHo, queer video art, Silicon Valley) have appeared in, among others, Art Margins, Shanghai Culture, Frieze, Flash Art, Aesthetics of Gentrification, Fandom as Methodology, Participatory Urbanisms, and Cities of Light. Lin’s research and curatorial work have been supported by numerous fellowships and awards, including from the UC Pacific Rim Research Program, US Department of Education, and Communication Arts journal.

This talk presents research from Jenny Lin’s recently published book, Above sea: Contemporary art, urban culture, and the fashioning of global Shanghai (Manchester University Press, 2019), which explores contemporary art, architecture, fashion, and film created in and about Shanghai, long known as mainland China’s most cosmopolitan metropolis. Lin examines key projects, such as the cultural complex Xintiandi and installations by Cai Guo-Qiang and Liu Jianhua, which engage, construct, and/or critique Shanghai’s mythical “East-meets-West” status and re-emerging position as an international financial and cultural capital. Lin’s analyses, informed by years of in-situ research, move beyond the hype surrounding contemporary art’s global turn to reveal historically rooted, site-specific creative pressures, transnational conflicts, and sociopolitical tensions accompanying Shanghai’s explosive transitions from semi-colonialism to Maoist socialism to late capitalism. Lin further traces the fraught resonances of Shanghai’s hybrid styles around the world, considering the geopolitical stakes of cross-cultural art and design.

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