World Chambers

A Forum for the Arts of Contemporary Chinese Women


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When looking up Chinese artists online, I instinctively go to their exhibits to get a hint at gender (it’s not always easy for this westerner to tell male from female names, and not all artist’s biographical statements include personal pronouns). If there are none of the female-focused exhibits of the 1990s listed, then I start to lean toward male.

What does this say about the ways that the creation of “nuxing yishu” (female art) during the 1990s limited/created/influenced contemporary female artists? This genre, created by art historians, defined female art as containing certain, not always flattering characteristics (e.g. child-like qualities, little focus on matters of the world), and some shows were curated along these lines so that women whose art did not display these characteristics were not included.

Some women embraced these characteristics naturally, and their work can be used to show the appropriateness of “nuxing yishu” as a genre. Other artist’s work is in direct conflict with these descriptions, and yet they may still be — and are by others — defined as working within “nuxing yishu.” How did this category impact the artist’s process of self-definition? How did it impact the west’s take on this work?


Written by Andrea Descoteaux Hugg

May 7, 2009 at 4:22 AM

Posted in Nuxing Yishu

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3 Responses

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  1. I am enjoying your write-ups, would you add me to your mailing list, please? Thanks.

    Maša Kepic

    August 1, 2009 at 10:05 AM

    • Thank you, Maša. I have added your email to the mailing list. Before your comment, I had not thought to create an email feed, so I owe it’s inception to you! I hope that you continue to enjoy the blog; and will find points to discuss in the comments.

      Andrea Descoteaux Hugg

      August 1, 2009 at 2:32 PM

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