Peggy Wang

Peggy Wang Assistant Professor of Art History and Asian Studies

Teaching this semester

ARTH 1100. Introduction to Art History

An introduction to the study of art history. Provides a chronological overview of art primarily from Western and East Asian traditions. Considers the historical context of art and its production, the role of the arts in society, problems of stylistic tradition and innovation, and points of contact and exchange between artistic traditions. Equivalent of Art History 101 as a major or minor requirement.

ARTH 2210/ASNS 2201. From Mao to Now: Contemporary Chinese Art

Examines the history of contemporary Chinese art and cultural production from Mao’s Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) until today. Traces experiments in oil, ink, performance, installation, video, and photography and considers these media and formats as artistic responses to globalization, capitalist reform, urbanization, and commercialization. Tracks themes such as art and consumerism, national identity, global hierarchies, and political critique. Readings include primary sources such as artists’ statements, manifestoes, art criticism, and curatorial essays.

Peggy Wang is Assistant Professor of Art History and Asian Studies at Bowdoin College. Her research has been supported by Jacob Javits and Fulbright-Hays fellowships and centers on how meanings and histories of art have been constructed in light of cultural globalization. She earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in Art History from the University of Chicago. In 2010 she served as editorial associate for The Museum of Modern Art publication Contemporary Chinese Art: Primary Documents. Her recent publications include “Art Critics as Middlemen: Navigating state and market in contemporary Chinese art, 1980s–1990s,” Art Journal (Spring 2013) and “Making and remaking history: Categorizing ‘conceptual art’ in contemporary Chinese art,” Journal of Art Historiography 10 (June 2014). She is currently completing a book-length study on artists’ strategies of sociopolitical intervention in contemporary Chinese art from the 1990s onward. At Bowdoin she teaches courses on pre-modern, modern, and contemporary Asian art history.


  • Ph.D., University of Chicago; Chicago, Illinois, 2010
  • B.A., Wellesley College; Wellesley, MA, 2001

Research Interests

  • Contemporary Chinese art
  • Art markets, art criticism, and state institutions in 1990s China
  • Nation and gender in twentieth-century China
  • Contemporary art and media
  • Visual culture and practices of looking
  • Global exhibitionary culture


Selected Articles and Essays

“The Materiality of Ephemerality: Changing Perspectives on Time,” Zhang Dali: Permanence and Impermanence (Beijing: China Nationality Art Photograph Publishing House, 2017), 162–167.
“Temporal Disjuncture and Global Space in Qiu Anxiong’s New Book of Mountains and Seas.” MAM Documents (Tokyo: Mori Art Museum, 2015), 162–172 (in Japanese). 

Negotiating Difference: Contemporary Chinese Art in the Global ContextNew Audiences, New Energy: Producing and Exhibiting Contemporary Chinese Art in 1993,” Post: Notes on Modern and Contemporary Art around the Globe, (MOMA, August 2015)

“Making and remaking history: Categorizing ‘conceptual art’ in contemporary Chinese art.” Journal of Art Historiography10 (June 2014): 1–17.

“Art Critics as Middlemen: Navigating state and market in contemporary Chinese art, 1980s–1990s.” Art Journal (Spring 2013): 6–19.

“China’s Emerging Art Market: Debates on art, criticism, and commodity in the early 1990s.” Negotiating Difference: Contemporary Chinese Art in the Global Context, ed. Juliane Noth et al (VDG Weimar, 2012), 189–198.

“A New Visual Rhetoric: Tang Kaizhi’s Taichi series.” Looking Between the Lines. Beijing: One Moon Gallery, 2007; appears in Chinese translation as “Xin de shijue yuyan: Tang Kaizhi de taiji xilie” in Zhongguo Yishu [Chinese Art] no. 1 (2008) and Dongfang Yishu [Oriental Art] no. 15 (2008).

“Re-reading Contemporary Chinese Art.” Orientations 37, no. 6 (September 2006): 85–89.

“Dis/Placement: Yin Xiuzhen’s City Installations.” Yishu 4, no.1 (April 2005): 87–101.

Assisted Publications

Wu Hung, ed. Contemporary Chinese Art: Primary Documents. With the assistance of Peggy Wang. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2010 [Review: The New York Review of Books (April 28, 2011)]

Wu Hung. Shu: Reinventing Books in Contemporary Chinese Art. With the assistance of Peggy Wang. New York: China Institute Gallery, 2006.

Contemporary Chinese Art: Primary Documents Wu Hung. Shu: Reinventing Books in Contemporary Chinese Art

Reviews and Interviews

“New Narratives of Contemporary Chinese Art.” Critique d’Art: The International Review of Contemporary Art Criticism 44 (July 2015): 28–42.

Review of Meiling Cheng, Beijing Xingwei: Contemporary Chinese time-based art (New York: Seagull Books, 2013), TDR/The Drama Review 59, no. 2 (Summer 2015): 173–175.

Review of Julia F. Andrews and Kuiyi Shen, The Art of Modern China (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012), Journal of Asian Studies 72, no. 3 (August 2013): 682–684.

Review of Hsingyuan Tsao and Roger T. Ames (eds.), Xu Bing and Contemporary Chinese Art (Albany: SUNY Press, 2011), Philosophy East and West 63: 3 (July 2013): 446–448.

“Thread and Bone: An Interview with Lin Tianmiao.” Yishu 11, no. 2 (March/April 2012): 6–19.

“Subversion, Culture Shock, and ‘Women’s Art: An Interview with Lin Tianmiao” n. paradoxa 29 (January 2012): 22–31.

“Miao Xiaochun: Phantasmagoria.” Art Asia Pacific 45 (Summer 2005): 85­–86.

Exhibitions Curated at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art

Breakthrough: Work by Contemporary Chinese Women Artists, Fall 2013 (co-curated)


Workshop participant in "Scholars' Day" for the exhibition Theatre of the World: Art and China after 1989, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York City.

“Reconsidering the Strawmen of Contemporary Chinese Art,” Conference on Calligraphy and Painting Studies in Postwar America, University of Maryland, College Park, May 4, 2018 (invited).
“Social Functions: Contemporary Art Groups in China,” presented as part of the panel “Reorganizing the Art World: Postwar and Contemporary Collectives in Asia,” College Art Association Annual Conference, Los Angeles, California, February 23, 2018.

Contemporary Chinese Art History in a Global Age,” Art and China after 1989: New Perspectivesconference, co-organized by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the NYU Department of Media, Culture, and Communication, New York, September 30, 2016 (invited).

"The Materiality of Ephemerality," Permanence and Impermanence in Contemporary Art international symposium, Beijing Minsheng Art Museum, China, July 3, 2016 (invited).

“Tensile Strength: Threads of Resistance in Lin Tianmiao’s Women’s Art,” American University, Washington D.C., April 6, 2016 (invited keynote).

"Ideals in the Art Academy?" Cultural Policy and the Arts in Contemporary China symposium, University of Chicago Cultural Policy Center, Beijing, China, October 27, 2015 (invited).

“Temporal Perception and Historical References in Contemporary Chinese Art,” (In)Direct Speech.“Chineseness” in Contemporary Art Discourse and Practice, Art Market, Curatorial Practices and Creative Processes, organized by Heidelberg University and University of Lisbon, Portugal, March 17, 2015 (invited).

“Animating Time,” Visual and Material Perspectives on East Asia workshop, University of Chicago, January 9, 2015 (invited)

“Temporal Disjuncture and Global Space in Qiu Anxiong’s New Book of Mountains and Seas,” Trauma and Utopia: Interactions in Post-War and Contemporary Art in Asia symposium jointly organized by Mori Art Museum and Tate Research Centre: Asia-Pacific, Tokyo, Japan, October 9–10, 2014. 

“Contemporary Chinese Art from New Wave to New Media,” School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, April 22, 2014 (invited).

Moderator, “Concept and Performance,” Ink Art: Dialogues with Artists symposium, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, February 20, 2014 (invited).

“Material Witnesses: Medium and media in contemporary Chinese Art,” College Art Association Annual Meeting, Chicago, Illinois, February 15, 2014.

“Made in China: Symbols and slogans of place in 1990s contemporary Chinese art,” Association of Asian Studies Annual Meeting, San Diego, California, March 23, 2013.

“Urbanization, Mediation, and Globalization in Contemporary Chinese Art,” Excavating the Image: The Birth of RMB City by Cao Fei Symposium, Smith College Museum of Art and Kahn Liberal Arts Institute, January 11, 2013 (invited).

“Politics of Intervention: Tracing the intersections of contemporary art and media in China” Media, Art, and Activism in the Middle East and Asia Lecture Series, Michigan State University, November 29, 2012 (invited).

“Artifice of Art: Advertisements in Contemporary Chinese Art,” Cultures in Contact Lecture Series, Institute for Chinese Studies, The Ohio State University, May 25, 2012 (invited).

“Black and White and Red All Over: Spaces of urban intervention in Beijing Youth Daily’s 1994 Art Interior Design series,” College Art Association Annual Meeting, Los Angeles, California, February 22, 2012.

“Approaching Contemporary Chinese Art,” Scholars’ Day Forum, Museum of Modern Art New York, October 15, 2010 (invited).

“Critical Discourses: Debating the Value of Contemporary Chinese Art in the 1990s,” Negotiating Difference: Contemporary Chinese Art in a Global Context Conference, House of World Cultures, Berlin, Germany, October 24, 2009.

The Ties that Bind: Contemporary Chinese Artists in the 1990s Global Art System,” Association of Asian Studies Annual Meeting, Chicago, Illinois, March 28, 2009.

“Constructing Market and History: The 1992 Guangzhou Biennial and the Second Documents Exhibition,” College Art Association Annual Meeting, Los Angeles, California, February 27, 2009.

“Exhibiting the Nation: Negotiating Cultural Authority in Multinational, Transnational, and Intranational Exhibitions of Contemporary Chinese Art in the 1990s,” Harvard Project for Asian and International Relations Conference, Tokyo, Japan, August 23, 2005.


Organized the public lecture "The Democratic Avant-Garde Minjung Art and Social Movement in South Korea," delivered by Sohl Lee, Assistant Professor of Art History at SUNY Stonybrook, Thursday, March 29, 2018. Co-sponsored by Lectures and Concerts Committee, Art History, Asian Studies, and Government and Legal Studies.

Major Awards

Bowdoin College Course Development Award for ARTH 3120 Art for the People

Sydney B. Karofsky Prize for Junior Faculty (2018)

Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation Researcher-in-Residence, Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong (2017)

U.S. Fulbright Research Scholar in China, U.S. Department of Education (2017)

Bowdoin Faculty Research Award (2017)

Franke Institute for the Humanities Doctoral Fellowship (2009–2010)

Center for East Asian Studies Dissertation Write-up Grant, University of Chicago (2008–2009)

Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellowship, U.S. Department of Education (2006–2007)

Jacob K. Javits Fellowship, U.S. Department of Education (2003–2006, winter–summer 2008)

Wellesley-Yenching Graduate Fellowship at the National Palace Museum in Taipei (2001–2002)