Asian Art Publics

Understanding new art and museum participation in Asia.

  • Investigators

  • Funded by

    • Australian Research Council (Grant No: DE170100455)

Alfredo & Isabel Aquilizan, In-flight (Project: Another Country), 2010. Photo courtesy of the artists.

My research aims to shed light on the role of art in shaping new kinds of public participation, cultural belonging and creativity in Asia. Looking at the new kinds of aesthetic and social issues they emphasise, I hope to better understand current topics of importance to Asian societies and the significance of art in this.

Dr Michelle Antoinette

Asia’s arts and culture sectors have been radically transformed in recent decades with a huge proliferation of public and private galleries, museums, art spaces, and other cultural institutions, new world-leading art fairs and other commercial initiatives, and a growing number of major Asia-based art exhibitions and collections. Attendant with these developments are new forms of public participation in Asian art and cultural institution projects. An increasing number of Asian artists and cultural institutions have been interested to engage publics as active participants in their art-focused projects, regarding public participation as a constitutive element of the art-making process and a new means of generating public dialogue.

  • What impact have recent arts and cultural developments in Asia had in shaping new Asian publics for art?
  • Who are the new publics for Asian art? Who are the new publics for art in Asia?
  • How and why are Asian publics participating in new art initiatives and shaping new public cultures for Asia?
  • How and why are artists and cultural institutions encouraging new public participation in art projects?

These are some of the central questions underpinning this research project. Central to my research are art-focused projects by contemporary Asian artists and Asian cultural institutions (museums, art galleries, and other art/cultural spaces) – at key sites in East and Southeast Asia – which invite public participation to help realise art projects.

With its emphasis on the processes of art-making and the social dimensions of art, ‘participatory’ art projects often contribute to new ways of thinking about both art and society: they often help to shed light on new contemporary Asian art practices and give visibility to histories of Asian art; at the same time, they also often help shape new public communities for art, prompt new ideas about and platforms for public participation in Asian society, and help to stimulate dialogue on issues of present-day social, political and ethical significance.