• Zhou Yan Contemporary Chinese Art Archive

About the Collection

Constructed from the Contemporary Chinese Art Collection of Dr. ZHOU Yan, Visual Resources Curator and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Kenyon College, these materials record a vibrant and important period in the development of Contemporary Chinese Art. The materials were initially gathered in preparation for the contemporary art section of China: 5000 Years, an exhibition held at Guggenheim Museum, New York, in 1998. When the contemporary art section was cancelled, all materials, including photographs, slides, videos, audio cassettes, and texts, collected from artists who were visited mainly in China by Julia Brown, curator of the contemporary art section, and ZHOU Yan, Dr. Brown’s assistant, were taken over by ZHOU Yan. The materials which document the art made or planned to be made in the 1990s, reflect the creation of art in China under the influence of globalization and urbanization. Using these materials as the core, the archive is an on-going project, where documents beyond this period will be added reflecting Dr. ZHOU’s continued research on contemporary Chinese art.

Featured Works

Zhang Jianjun, Human Beings and Their Clock, o/c, 1985.
Lin Tianmiao, Proliferation of Thread Winding, installation, 1995. https://digital.kenyon.edu/zhou/7/
Zhang Huan & Migrant Laborers, To Raise the Water Level in a Fishpond, action, 1997.
He Chengyao, The Open Great Wall, action, 2001.
Mo Hongxun, China: Petitioners Series #2, acrylic on canvas, 2006.
Xing Danwen, Urban Fiction, photograph, 2004.
Zhang Peili, Please Enjoy Jazz, o/c, 1985.
Xu Bing, Book from the Sky, installation, 1989.
Ren Jian, The Epoch, acrylic on canvas, 2005-2012.

VRC Assistants

Dr. Zhou has had several undergraduate research assistants digitizing, cataloging, researching and uploading the collection; they are Zoe Chrissos (’18), Iris Yuqi Chen (’18), Hannah Russ (’18), Dounia Sawaya (’19), May Lufeng Chen (’20), Fiona Ruqin Mu (’21), Richard Jinwen Fu (’21), Jerry Jinxue Wu (’23), Tiffany Hao Yang (’25), Sally Yifan Shang (’25), Cecilia He Zhang (’25).

Yan Zhou, PhD

Visual Resources Curator Yan Zhou has taught at Kenyon since 2006. He teaches courses on Asian art history with a particular emphasis on modern and contemporary Chinese art. His research focuses on Chinese contemporary art in the context of globalization and post-colonialism. Read his selected works.

Banner Image: detail from Zhang Jianjun, Human Beings and Their Clock, 1985. Zhou Yan Contemporary Chinese Art Archive.