【Minsheng Lecture】“Now Painting Is a Verb, and painters should get involved”


Minsheng Lecture




Ma Ke, Karen Smith, Zhang Jianjun

Guests: Ma Ke, Karen Smith, and Zhang Jianjun
Moderator: Lu Yinghua
Time: Sun. 14:30 16:30, June 20th, 2021
Venue: Multimedia Room, 1st Floor, Shanghai Minsheng Museum
Address: Building 3, Xinyefang, No. 210 Wenshui Road, Jing’an District, Shanghai

1.For the public health and safety, the event requires real-name registration.
2.Please bring your ID and wait in line at the admission.
3.Before your entrance, you should get your temperature measured and register your information at reception.
4.Please wear a face mask the whole time during your visit. If you are experiencing a fever, cough, or short of breath, please understand that admission will not be granted.
5.Please arrive 15 minutes before the start of the event.

Left: Stand in Solitude, 2019, oil on canvas, 150 X 200 cm    Right: Seagulls, 2020, oil on canvas, 50 X 40 cm

Ma Ke was born in the 1970s and received college art education in 1990s. as many artists of his generation, Ma Ke also inherited legacy from the 1985 New Wave and the heritage from post 1980s’ multidimensional experimental art, which include the dichotomy between formality and style as well as that between artistic concept and content, the relationship between art and reality, the conflict between “linguistic purism” and “the great soul,” anxiety from Eastern-Western comparative studies, and contemporary Chinese artists exploration into expressive paintings.

Installation view from exhibition “Hole: Ma Ke’s Painting,” Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum

This lecture will further discuss the contemporary post 1980s’ multidimensional experimental art and how it has influenced the contemporary art practice. “Now painting is a verb, and painters should get involved” is Ma Ke’s description of painter as a career. A painter’s practice is not simply producing paintings, but also setting boundaries for the art of painting and defining art historiography. Borrowing Ma Ke’s words, this lecture is aimed at inspiring people to think about the perspective and departing point of the current art practice within a broader, and more fluid historical context.

Ma Ke was sketching in Zibo in 1997                 Ma Ke in front of his works, 2013

Taking the opportunity of Ma Ke’s solo exhibition "The Hole – Ma Ke’s Paintings" at Shanghai Minsheng Museum, we invited artist Ma Ke, curator Lu Yinghua, Zhang Jianjun, who has been deeply involved in modernist art practice and exploration in Shanghai since the 1980s, as well as art critic Karen Smith who curated the solo exhibition of Ma Ke’s “A False Alarm” (2012), to bring to the audience a round table discussion.

About the Moderator

Lu Yinghua

Lu Yinghua is an art historian and professional curator who now serves as the director at the Inside-Out Art Museum in Beijing. She obtained her PhD in art history from Melbourne University in 2020. She served as Chief Curator and Artistic Monitor at OCAT from 2012 to 2015, Shenzhen, member of the jury for the Golden Lion Award at Venice Biennale in 2012, joint curator at Gwangju Biennale, joint curator at the 7th Shenzhen Sculpture Biennale. She is the first winner of the exceptional research scholar award for the Asia Pacific Program of the Tate Gallery Research Center. She is one of the four winners of the first East Asian Scholars Award of the Association of American Art History Research Institutions (ARIAH) in 2017. She was on jury for Philippines National Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2018. From 2003, Lu partnered with artist Liu Ding to conduct research on “Echoes of Socialist Realism” that discusses perspectives and methods of contemporary Chinese art.

About the Guests

Ma Ke

Ma Ke graduated from Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts and remained there for teaching. He later transferred to then Ministry of Culture as an aiding professor to Eritrea in Northeast Africa. Ma later graduated from Studio IV, Department of Oil Painting, Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA), China. He now lives and works in Beijing and has held solo exhibitions in Germany and the US, with years of creative experiences in Austria, Italy, and the US. His major solo exhibitions include “The Hole – Ma Ke’s Paintings,” Shanghai Minsheng Museum, 2021; “Ma Ke,” N3 Contemporary Art, Beijing, 2020; "Ma Ke," Galerie Ruhdiger Schottle, Munich, 2018; "Ma Ke," Platform China Contemporary Art Institute, Beijing, 2016; "Idiom Story – Ma Ke Solo Exhibition," Marc Selwyn Fine Art, Los Angeles, 2014, and "Evidence – Ma Ke Solo Exhibition," Platform China Contemporary Art Institute, Hong Kong, 2013. Ma participated recent group exhibition such as Chinese Whispers, Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Vienna, 2019. His works are collected globally, and the Asia Art Archive has his profile.

Karen Smith

Karen Smith is a British art critic and curator. As an important international promoter for China’s contemporary art, Karen has dedicated in researching contemporary art of china and has lived in China since 1992. She has written widely on the subject for numerous journals and exhibition catalogues and is the author of many artist's monographs. Her objective presentation of different stages of Chinese contemporary art coupled with her publications have become the channel for understanding contemporary art and artists in China. Karen published Nine Lives: The Birth of Avant-Garde Art in New China (2008) and is currently working on a new series The Illuminator: Experiencing Scenes of China’s Contemporary Art. Per request from Taschen of Germany in 2013, Karen became the author for China related part of Art Now Volume 4.
In 2005, Karen became the Academic advisor for OCAT Shenzhen, and in 2012, she was appointed Executive Director of OCAT Xi'an. She also serves as the chief curator at Shanghai Photographic Art Center after its founding in 2015 and has since curated numerous high-quality exhibitions there.

Zhang Jianjun

Zhang Jianjun was born in Shanghai and was the assistant director and head of Art Research Department at Shanghai Art Museum from 1986 to 1989. Zhang Jianjun has lived and created in New York and Shanghai for a long time. He has been teaching at New York University since 1997. His art works have been widely exhibited in museums, art centers and galleries around the world, including in recent years  at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the National Art Museum of China, the Shanghai Art Museum Biennale, the Venice Biennale in Italy, Gwangju Biennale in South Korea, Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art, National Museum of Modern Art in Italy, National Gallery in Dresden, Germany, Madrid, Spain, Caixi Forum Art Gallery in Barcelona, ​​Pera Art Gallery in Istanbul, Turkey, and Royal Academy of Art in the UK, etc.

Zhang Jianjun has also won many international awards including: First Prize of the First Shanghai Youth Art Exhibition, Shanghai, China (1986), Rockefeller Foundation Asian Cultural Association (ACC) Visiting Artist Award, New York, USA (1987-88), Pollock Art Foundation Creation Award, New York (1991), New York Art Foundation Three-year Excellent Sculpture/Installation Artist Award, New York (2007, 2014), Royal Academy of Art/K11 Art Foundation Artist-in-Residence Creation Award (2019), etc.