Thoughts on art and institutions in Asia

I remember reading the Taiwanese art historian Xie Lifa who wrote in the early 1980s that a clear trajectory in the development of art institutions could be seen as, first, the establishment of the artists and art associations-initiated exhibitions and related venues, followed by the commercial galleries, and subsequently the art museums. The picture, of course, is much more complex after the 1980s, and in some parts of Asia, even for the museums, the history goes back to around 1900. There are various ways of categorising art institutions in Asia. Descriptors set up as binaries include modern/contemporary, public/private, commercial/non-profit, museum/art space, national/regional and official/alternative.

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