A Contemporary Art Forum was Successfully Held at William Paterson University

The Shanghai William Chinese Art Foundation Distinguished Visiting Artist Series

November 8-10, 2021

Hosted By Center for Chinese Art in cooperation with the Art Department and the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences of William Paterson University

In the beautiful and hearty golden autumn season of New Jersey, from November 8th to 10th, the three-day event "Dialogues: East and West, A Contemporary Art Forum" was successfully held at William Paterson University.

In the first two days of the forum, Professor Liqin Tan from Rutgers University and Professor Snow Yunxue Fu from New York University gave lectures on new media art, followed by lectures on Chinese contemporary art from Professor Yifei Gan of Maryland and Professor Xiaoxia Song, art historian from the School of Humanities, Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, China.

On November 10th, eight Chinese Aesthetic scholars gathered in the lecture hall of the university library. The dialogue between the East and the West brought the event to a climax. The forum was co-chaired by Dean Wartyna Davis, Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences of William Paterson University, and Professor Zhiyuan Cong, Director of the Center for Chinese Art.

Dr. Josh Powers, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, gave the first speech. He said, “I personally appreciate the leadership of Professor Cong as well as our strong community of supporters in this effort to advance the center’s mission of dedication to preserving and sharing the artistic heritage of China and integrating its rich tradition into the university’s curriculum. I hope you have or will find new lenses and insights about contemporary art at this forum and will continue to do so through today’s sessions. I also hope you have found ways to connect with old and/or new colleagues and simply enjoy each other’s collective company. In a world in which we are coming out of a pandemic, or at least learning how to live with it, this is an important moment for all of us to savor and appreciate.

Rubin Chen, an art columnist for The China Press in the East of the United States, spoke next. In his "Contemporary Asian Art Exhibitions in the Museums in New York," he introduced and analyzed the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Guggenheim Museum of Art since 2000, focusing on exhibitions, works and contemporary artists from Eastern China. Interim Chair of the Art Department, Professor Daryl J. Moore, gave a speech titled "The View from the Eye of the Storm: Chinese Contemporary Art". From the perspective of an American artist, he introduced and explained Chinese contemporary art, especially the response and feelings of Shanghai artists' works exhibited in mainstream communities in New Jersey. Professor Chungfan Chang from Stockton University in New Jersey explained and introduced the contemporary art exhibitions, artists and works she curated from the perspective of a Taiwanese artist. Dr. Xiaoxia Song, Professor Yifei Gan and Professor Snow Yunxue Fu spoke again. They analyzed and discussed the past, present and future of contemporary art from a new perspective in the forum.

The forum was a success, filled with very professional, knowledgeable and deep conversations. The forum was scheduled for three days packed with speeches and dialogues, the speakers were so excited, the audience was very attentive, and the questioners were very enthusiastic; but everyone was still left wanting even more. In her summary, Dean Davis said: Today’s definition of "Dialogues: East and West" is about contemporary art, and a dialogue between Eastern and Western art has begun. This is incredibly exciting for us. This forum connects us so closely, promotes our mutual cultural and artistic understanding, and enriches the academic atmosphere of the university. I am very grateful to Professor Zhiyuan Cong for his meticulous planning and organization for providing such a rare opportunity in the post-epidemic period. Thank you to all the all scholars for your wonderful speeches, and thank you professors and students for their active participation!

Professor Zhiyuan Cong, Director of the Center for Chinese Art, would like to thank Ms. Margaret Lam, Mr. David Yan, and Professor Daryl J. Moore for their support and help, and also extends a special thanks to Professors James Blasi, Eileen Foti, Rachel Frank, Morgan Lawson, Leslie Nobler, and He Zhang for their joint organization and participation. The event was a complete success thanks to everyone’s participation and cooperation.

The forum was a huge success; very professional, full of knowledge and deep, broad conversations. Although the forum was scheduled for three days full of speeches and dialogues, the speakers were very excited, the audience was very attentive, and the questioners were very enthusiastic, everyone still felt unfulfilled and wished there was more time to spend on all the topics introduced. In the summary, Dean Davis concluded: The discussions about the definitions of contemporary art and how that works in dialogue, as a social scientist, I find it incredibly exciting how closely they weave together and how important they are. Thank you, Professor Cong, for bringing together this absolutely incredible line-up of artists and intellectuals in this area. I’m very much impressed by the forum and how much our speakers enrich us, and thank you all for what you have provided for all of us today.