Expertise Diversification and the Transformation of the Field of Contemporary Chinese Art: 1979-2012

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Expertise Diversification and the Transformation of the Field of Contemporary Chinese Art: 1979-2012

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Title: Expertise Diversification and the Transformation of the Field of Contemporary Chinese Art: 1979-2012
Author: Liu, Joyce Fang Chieh
Citation: Liu, Joyce Fang Chieh. 2013. Expertise Diversification and the Transformation of the Field of Contemporary Chinese Art: 1979-2012. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University.
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Abstract: The decentralization of cultural production in China coincided with the introduction of economic and political reforms in 1979. The subsequent shift from a system of state propaganda production towards a market-oriented dealer-critic system of cultural production required a wider range of expertise beyond deep knowledge of the Western modern art canon or domain expertise. This dissertation investigates how the field of contemporary Chinese art (CCA) is constituted and transformed through a division of labor that reflects varieties of expertise using empirical data from 89 in-depth interviews with leading cultural professionals working in the CCA field, historical archival records, and participant observation. The study revises the conventional conception that domain expertise consistently shapes cultural fields. The main finding is that the kinds of expertise used are associated with how the CCA field has developed over the past three decades. Cultural professionals mobilize non-cultural expertise as well as cultural capital to enlist international support for CCA, establish aesthetic value, and extend the boundaries of cultural organizations that filter and deliver CCA to a broad audience. These results reinforce the agency perspective in institutional studies. Individual actors drive change in the CCA field while being embedded within it. Overall, the transformation of the field of contemporary Chinese art encompasses pragmatic adaptations to environmental shifts in resource distribution, the availability of new technologies of cultural production, and wider political and economic transformations.
Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:11181229
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