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Beijing Xingwei: Contemporary Chinese Time-based Art (Seagull Books - Enactments) Paperback – January 15, 2014

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Product Details

  • Series: Seagull Books - Enactments
  • Paperback: 510 pages
  • Publisher: Seagull Books (January 15, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857420879
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857420879
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,340,649 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Beijing Xingwei is richly situated at the crossroads of Chinese and US politics and culture. This kind of cross-cultural knowledge, information, and insight is absolutely invaluable for the newly burgeoning 'global' histories of contemporary art and performance to develop further."
(Amelia Jones, author of Body Art/Performing the Subject)

"There is no question in my mind that Cheng's Beijing Xingwei will be one of the most significant new releases of the next decade." 
(Laurie Beth Clark University of Wisconsin-Madison)

About the Author

Born and raised in Taiwan, Meiling Cheng is a noted performance art critic and poet and has published widely in both English and Chinese. She is associate professor in the School of Theatre at University of Southern California and the author of In Other Los Angeleses: Multicentric Performance Art.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Paul C. Blake on March 16, 2014
Format: Paperback
It seems obvious to me that contemporary Chinese time-based art may appear to face an uncertain future in China, due to the its ephemeral elements lacking in com modification and popular appreciation including academic ridicule. However, it's only a matter of time before it is hailed the triumph of Chinese art.
I sooner imagine this seemingly impermanent or ephemeral art form due to its one-time exhibiting nature embedded in its behavior/performance role, the other 'Shock of the New' not by the former art critic, the former Robert Hughes, but by the contemporary historian and scholar Professor Meiling Cheng. In the shock of the presentation of something new, many are repelled and distracted by the newness of the unfamiliar. Initial aversions to the stark experimentation and the unfamiliarity of the avant-garde in the introductions of Impressionism, and Cubism were quite striking. Then, the more recent Abstract Expressionist Movement of the 1950s later became the triumph of an American art according to the art historian, Irving Sandler.
The spontaneity and the liveliness in the nature of the behavior/ performance based art allow for such great fluidity rarely obvious in the more object-based artworks which professor Cheng has alluded to in her argument regarding the Brand China's which she perceives to have a detrimental impact on the field of time-based art.
'Beijing Xingwei,' Professor Cheng's new book, chronicles her process of retracing certain artistic behavior--seen, heard, recollected, imagined and documented-- in Beijing according to the author. Just reading the introduction, I have gathered that this scholarly text is going to be most informative, enlightening, and transforming especially to the reader with an open mind.
Thank you Meiling! I am excited and eager to read more of this great scholarship, an aspect of art and culture that has long been unfamiliar to me. (Y)

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Format: Paperback
A comprehensive and thought-provoking book of poetic and political richness!! it provides an excellent epistemological and theoretical entry into contemporary Chinese time-based art. The author broadens the few examples of intertextual dialogue about Chinese performance art and establishes analogies between Chinese performance art and its Western counterparts. A must read if you are interested in Chinese performance art.
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More About the Author

Meiling Cheng is an Earth-based poet, thinker, and theorist interested in using words as a visual-sonic medium. She was a published poet, an award-winning essayist and short-story writer in Taipei, Taiwan, before she moved to the United States to attend Yale University, School of Drama, for her MFA and DFA degrees in Theatre Arts. She is currently teaching at School of Dramatic Arts, University of Southern California. Her first book IN OTHER LOS ANGELESES: MULTICENTRIC PERFORMANCE ART (2002) deals with minoritarian subject formation and the links between visuality and theatricality in live art. Supported by a 2008 Guggenheim Fellowship, her second book BEIJING XINGWEI: CONTEMPORARY CHINESE TIME-BASED ART (2013) probes a variety of transient artworks created in response to China's rapid transformations in its post-Deng period. The book positions those encountering performance and installation via reading and writing in a conceptual dialogue with selected Chinese artists to explore the use and awareness of time in art.

With her co-editor Gabrielle Cody and their huge team of authors, Cheng is working on a critical anthology entitled READING CONTEMPORARY PERFORMANCE: THEATRICALITY ACROSS GENRES (2015). With Claudia Bucher and Rolf Hoefer, Meiling Cheng cofounded the Museum of Ommmmm in 2010. The Museum existed for two months and vanished before any cobwebs formed. Undaunted, Cheng tries to practice yoga three times a week--as if it matters.