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Question from 2009 | Don’t Stop: Doing Art Potluck Style

Editor's Note:

Heichi Magazine’s Future Perfect: Questionnaire at the End of 2021 is a series of attempts at finding questions and answers from past texts, that still retain their relevancy for today. This essay is an answer from 2009: “high concept, low budget, ​ flexibility, independency, self-efficiency”. Beijing-based critic and curator Carol Yinghua Lu made an observation of the then rapidly expanding scene of independent art spaces: from HomeShop in Beijing, Small Productions in Hangzhou to the Observers Association in Guangzhou. ​In her own words, the reflections some artists made back then “would have been inconceivable ten years ago”. What Lu didn’t foresee was, ten more years after its original publication of her essay, her essay would now read with another feeling of inconceivability.

Back in 2009, e-flux launched a series of projects focusing on self-organizations, new economic modes, and redefinitions of the relations of production, which generated a considerable amount of discussions in China. The previous year, Contemporary Art & Investment started to reprint e-flux articles; the same fall, e-flux organized a lecture series at ShContemporary 09. Around the same time,​ Anton Vidokle and Julieta Aranda’s PAWNSHOP migrated to Beijing and opened at the shop, with an open call inviting artists for pawn their works for a fixed price of 99 RMB (compared to 99.99 USD in their 2007 New York edition).

This is part of e-flux in Chinese Column, a collaboration between Heichi Magazine and e-flux journal, with curator and writer Xiaoyu Weng as the column’s guest-editor.

Don’t Stop: Doing Art Potluck Style from e-flux journal #5—April 2009, read the original article here. Translated by @missbut123, edited by Zian Chen.

Carol Yinghua Lu is the director of Beijing Inside-Out Art Museum and has recently received her Ph.D. degree in art history from the University of Melbourne. She is an art historian and curator. Lu was on the jury for the Golden Lion Award at the 2011 Venice Art Biennale, and also a jury member of the Philippine Pavilion at the Venice Biennale of Architecture of 2018. She was the co-artistic director of the 2012 Gwangju Biennale and co-curator of the 7th Shenzhen Sculpture Biennale in 2012. From 2012 to 2015 she had been the artistic director and chief curator of OCAT Shenzhen. She is the first visiting fellow in the Asia-Pacific Fellowship Program at the Tate Research Centre in 2013, and she was among the first recipients of the ARIAH (Association of Research Institute in Art History) East Asia Fellowship in 2017. She has been on the jury for the Tokyo Contemporary Art Award, Hugo Boss Asia and Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. In collaboration with Liu Ding, she is in the process of researching into the legacy of socialist realism in the practices and discourses of contemporary art in China, entitled “From the Issue of Art to the Issue of Position: Echoes of Socialist Realism.”

The HomeShop stoop sale brings neighbors and friends to HomeShop. Courtesy HomeShop.

Flyer for a Small Productions barbeque. Names of the participating artists are listed on the hot dogs.
Courtesy Small Productions.

Another flyer for a Small Productions event featuring their motto “Small Productions, Don’t Stop!” Courtesy Small Productions.

Next door neighbour Zheng helps put up the sign inviting participants for HomeShop’s “Speak” activity. Courtesy HomeShop.

Published: 2021.12.22