1st Edition

The Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Art in Global Asia

Edited By Menene Gras, Jonathan Harris, Bashir Makhoul Copyright 2023

    This substantial collection of newly commissioned essays presents an ambitious, entertaining, and accessible guide to developments in Asian art over the past 20 years of the epoch of globalization.

    The term ‘global Asia’ signals the genesis and evolution of contemporary art within the context of global economic, social, political, and intellectual change related to the end of the Cold War, decolonization, the emergence of postcolonial societies and cultures, and the rise of a global contemporary art world. In the handbook its editors establish, in an extended introductory section and in four section introductions, the theoretical, geographical, and historical parameters within which the contemporary visual arts of ‘global Asia’ may be described, analyzed, and evaluated. The collected chapters provide a diverse, multiauthored, heterogeneous, and genuinely plural account of art and its contexts. The democratic and inclusive character of globalization is reflected and produced within this anthology, which includes different styles of writing as well as varieties of analytic and thematic focus.

    The anthology will appeal to both scholars and students in art history, art practice, curation, contemporary art, fine art, cultural studies, and globalization studies.

    I. Contexts, Definitions, Problems

    1. Introduction: Art in 'Global Asia' in a Transformed World

    Jonathan Harris, Menene Gras, Bashir Makhoul

    2. Why Asia? Map-making as the Social Construction of Place. Increasing Asian Power in the World. 

    Menene Gras

    3. Shifting Local Cultures through Traveling Identities in the New Silk Roads: The Temptation to Return.

    Menene Gras

    II. Mappings

    4. Orders of Spectating: Rehearsals of Sovereignty and New Museums of Art in the Near East

    Lewis Johnson

    5. Pedagogy, Bureaucracy, and Fashioning a Rooted Modernism

    Hammad Nasar

    6. The 1990s: A New Epoch in the History of Korean Contemporary Art

    Kim Hong-hee

    7. Facts in the Ground: Artefacts, Fictions, and National Identities in Contemporary Palestinian Art

    Gordon Hon

    8. Telling Time through Nation and Narration. Towards an Understanding of ‘Asian Contemporary Art’ in Global Asia

    Menene Gras

    III. Regions and Borders

    9. Palestinian Video Art and the Fluxus of Globalization. 'Palestinian' as a Contemporary National Identity

    Bashir Makhoul

    10. Palestinian Video Art and the Fluxus of Globalization. Palestine as an ‘Imagined Community’

    Bashir Makhoul

    11. Doing the Business in the Hong Kong Art World

    Jonathan Harris

    12. The Woman Does Not Exist: De-oedipalization of Contemporary Art

    Sumi Kang

    13. Metonym and Metaphor, Islands and Continents: Reflections on Curating Contemporary Art from Southeast Asia

    Lee Weng-Choy


    IV. Sites, Systems, and Practices

    14. Palestinian International Exhibitions: From Universal Resistance to Global Nomadism – The Case of Qalandiya International. Qalandiya International: The Predicament of a Colonially Defined Locality

    Rawan Sharaf

    15. Palestinian International Exhibitions: From Universal Resistance to Global Nomadism – The Case of Qalandiya International. Qalandiya International: A Genealogy of Institutional Patterns, Behaviours and References

    Rawan Sharaf

    16. Art after the March 11 Earthquake and Tsunami: Radical Changes in Japanese Art

    Kenichi Kondo

    17. Biennales and Triennales in Global Asia: Art as Journey and Encounter

    Caroline Turner

    18. Museum Frenzy: Notes from the Field on Studying the True Colour Museum

    Isaac Leung

    V. Reflections on the Dialectics of Contemporary Art in Asia

    19. The Exhibition

    Amanullah Mojadidi

    20. The Age of Gold and the Dust of Stars: Paradise and Fall in the Paintings of Li Xinping

    David Elliott

    21. The Provincial Cosmopolitan: Emily Jacir and the Mediterranean Sea

    Nicos Papastergiadis

    22. A New Ecology of Knowledges: Modes of Abyssal Thinking

    Anna Maria Guasch

    23. From Dusty Warehouses to the White Cube: BizArt and the Developing Forms of Contemporary Art Display in Shanghai

    Davide Quadrio


    Menene Gras has been the director of culture and exhibitions at Casa Asia (Barcelona and Madrid) since 2003 and is also the current director of the Asian Film Festival Barcelona (AFFBCN). With a PhD from the University of Barcelona, Menene Gras is an art critic, curator, lecturer, and former professor at the same university. Author of many essays, catalogues, anthologies, and four books of poetry, she was art correspondent for Art Forum for more than 12 years and has been writing in many newspapers and art magazines for many years.

    Jonathan Harris has taught at several British universities, including Keele, Liverpool, Southampton, Birmingham City, and the University for the Creative Arts in Canterbury, England, where he is the director of UCA Doctoral College. Specializing in modernist and contemporary art, Harris has published 23 books and over 150 book and journal essays, including a trilogy of studies on art and globalization, and most recently he has edited Terrorism and the Arts (Routledge 2021).

    Bashir Makhoul is the president and vice chancellor of the University for the Creative Arts, UK. Professor Makhoul is a writer, editor, and artist with a substantial track record of driving globalization initiatives within higher education. He is an internationally exhibited artist, his work features in major collections, and he is widely acknowledged as a global authority on Palestinian art.