Contemporary Art in SE Asia

A Malaysian Art Scene, Under the Radar

Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Art: An Anthology
Editors: Nora A. Taylor and Boreth Ly

This anthology explores artistic practices and works from a diverse and vibrant region. Scholars, critics, and curators offer their perspectives on Southeast Asian art and artists, aiming not to define the field but to illuminate its changing nature and its interactions with creative endeavors and histories originating elsewhere. These essays examine a range of new and modern work, from sculptures that Invoke post-conflict trauma in Cambodia to Thai art installations that invite audience participation and thereby challenge traditional definitions of the “art object.” In this way, the authors not only provide a lively study of regional art, but challenge and expand broad debates about international and transnational art.

More Information

Contemporary Art in Asia: A Critical Reader
Editors: Melissa Chiu and Benjamin Genocchio

In 2008, Asia stormed the citadel of the New York art world when two major museums presented retrospectives of Asian contemporary artists: Cai Guo-Qiang at the Guggenheim Museum and Takashi Murakami at the Brooklyn Museum. Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, a painting by Zeng Fanzhi sold for $9.5 million, setting a new world auction record for Chinese contemporary art. The Western art world is still coming to grips with the challenge: it is all about Asia now. This book is the first anthology of critical writings to map the shift in both the nature and the reception of Asian art over the past twenty years. Offering texts by leading figures in the field (mostly Asian), and including more than fifty illustrations in color and black and white, it covers developments in East Asia (including China, Korea, and Japan), South Asia (including India and Pakistan), and Southeast Asia (including Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand). Together, the twenty-three texts posit an historical and pan-Asian response to the question, “What is Asian contemporary art?” Considering such topics as Asian modernism (“productive mistranslation” of the European original), Asian cubism, and the curating, collecting, and criticism of Asian contemporary art, this book promises to be a foundational reference for many years to come.

More Information

Deep S.E.A.: Contemporary Art in Southeast Asia
Primo Marella (Editor)

Contemporary Art from South East Asia explores what factors might distinguish the contemporary art of South East Asia from Western aesthetic paradigms, through the work of eleven artists from eight countries. “S.E.A.” is an acronym for South East Asian art, but also alludes to the fact that all of the art surveyed in this volume comes from countries bordering the Pacific Ocean. The artists featured tackle such themes as identity and memory, emotional distance and diaspora, using a variety of media, from painting to performance documentation. Each is introduced by a local art critic with international stature; the artists include Aung Ko (Myanmar), Donna Ong (Singapore), Sopheap Pich (Cambodia), Natee Utarit (Thailand), Nithakhong Somsanith (Laos), Nguyen Thái Tuan (Vietnam), Khvay Samnang (Cambodia), Aditya Novali (Indonesia), La Huy (Vietnam), Ruben Pang (Singapore) and Isabel & Alfredo Aquilizan (Philippines).

More Information

Art as Politics: Re-Crafting Identities, Tourism, and Power in Tana Toraja, Indonesia
Kathleen M. Adams
Winner of the Alpha Sigma Nu Book Award (Social Sciences), Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities


Art as Politics explores the intersection of art, identity politics, and tourism in Sulawesi, Indonesia. Based on long-term ethnographic research from the 1980s to the present, the book offers a nuanced portrayal of the Sa’dan Toraja, a predominantly Christian minority group in the world’s most populous Muslim country. Celebrated in anthropological and tourism literatures for their spectacular traditional houses, sculpted effigies of the dead, and pageantry-filled funeral rituals, the Toraja have entered an era of accelerated engagement with the global economy marked by on-going struggles over identity, religion, and social relations.In her engaging account, Kathleen Adams chronicles how various Toraja individuals and groups have drawn upon artistically-embellished “traditional” objects—as well as monumental displays, museums, UNESCO ideas about “word heritage,” and the World Wide Web—to shore up or realign aspects of a cultural heritage perceived to be under threat. She also considers how outsiders—be they tourists, art collectors, members of rival ethnic groups, or government officials—have appropriated and reframed Toraja art objects for their own purposes. Her account illustrates how art can serve as a catalyst in identity politics, especially in the context of tourism and social upheaval.Ultimately, this insightful work prompts readers to rethink persistent and pernicious popular assumptions—that tourism invariably brings a loss of agency to local communities or that tourist art is a compromised form of expression. Art as Politics promises to be a favorite with students and scholars of anthropology, sociology, cultural studies, ethnic relations, art, and Asian studies.

More Information

Book Program Info
List Book Archive by Date List Book Archive by Category

Pin It

Comments are closed.