Xin Wang will write a series of essays about art practices that speak to China’s recent presence—cultural, economic, geopolitical—in various African countries, the unprecedented African diasporic presence in China, and a rapidly evolving discourse on “blackness” in the Chinese (and post-Socialist) cyberspace, among other topics. While “otherness” looms large in the project, it crucially and inherently marginalizes whiteness and the West as the key mediators. In addition to focused analysis of specific artworks by artists such as He Xiangyu, Michael Soi, Tahir Karmali, and Samuel Fosso, the essays will contextualize their work through intricately connected valences such as the modern notions of nation-building and technocracy, migrant labor and infrastructure, the historical solidarity of the Global South, and the abiding allure of social and socialist realism as an essential international style of modernism. Practices of multiracial “representation” in state-sanctioned art and in Socialist contexts will be juxtaposed with artworks appropriating the visual language of street art and political caricature in more recent times; discursive dimensions in popular culture, vernacular media, and soccer fandoms will also be considered. 

Xin Wang is an art historian and curator based in New York. Past curatorial projects include “Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China,” Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2013); “Lu Yang: Arcade,” Wallplay, New York (2014); “The BANK Show: Vive le Capital,” BANK, Shanghai (2015); “The BANK Show: Hito Steyerl,” BANK, Shanghai (2015); and “chin(A)frica: an interface,” Institute of Fine Arts, New York University (2017). Her writing has appeared in e-flux journal, Artforum, Kaleidoscope, Mousse, Flash Art, Art in America, Wallpaper, and Leap. Wang has lectured at institutions such as Para/Site, SVA, the Queens Museum, MoMA, the Städelschule, and HangarBicocca, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Currently pursuing a PhD in modern and contemporary art—focusing on Soviet hauntology in postmodernism—at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, Wang also works as the Joan Tisch Teaching Fellow at the Whitney Museum of American Art, where she produced a series of online lectures during the Covid-19 lockdowns (“Asian/American Perspectives,” “Technology and Fantasy,” and “Eros,”) as well as in-depth series on artists (Salman Toor, Julie Mehretu, and Jennifer Packer). Wang is a Visiting Critic at the Yale School of Art, the Head of Content at Blank Art Network, and finishing a book chapter for the inaugural publication of NYU Shanghai’s Center for AI and Culture.