Minor China: Method, Materialisms, and the Aesthetic
In Minor China Hentyle Yapp analyzes contemporary Chinese art as it circulates on the global art market to outline the limitations of Western understandings of non-Western art. Yapp reconsiders the all-too-common narratives about Chinese art that celebrate the heroic artist who embodies political resistance against the authoritarian state. These narratives, as Yapp establishes, prevent Chinese art, aesthetics, and politics from being discussed in the West outside the terms of Western liberalism and notions of the “universal.” Yapp engages with art ranging from photography and performance to curation and installations to foreground what he calls the minor as method—tracking aesthetic and intellectual practices that challenge the predetermined ideas and political concerns that uphold dominant conceptions of history, the state, and the subject. By examining the minor in the work of artists such as Ai Weiwei, Zhang Huan, Cao Fei, Cai Guo-Qiang, Carol Yinghua Lu, and others, Yapp demonstrates that the minor allows for discussing non-Western art more broadly and for reconfiguring dominant political and aesthetic institutions and structures.
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