The Wall : Reshaping Chinese Contemporary Art


October 21, 2005–January 29, 2006


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450-page bilingual catalogue available with essays by Gao Minglu and Bingyi Huang.


The Wall surveys how the current practice of art-making, though embedded in the tradition of Chinese civilization, reflects the complicated and rapidly changing Chinese cultural landscape and China’s transformations from an agricultural society to a modern, urbanized country.

Gao Minglu organized The Wall during his tenure as an assistant professor in the Department of Art History of the UB College of Arts and Sciences. While the Great Wall certainly will come to the minds of visitors to the exhibition, Gao says there are several interpretations of walls in Chinese culture. “‘The Wall’ can be interpreted as a physical or architectural form such as the Great Wall or other various walls in a living space; as a modernization project that has posed a challenge in China such as the Three Gorges Dam Project; or as a cultural and social boundary experienced by Chinese citizens,” said Gao, associate professor of East Asian modern and contemporary art in the History of Art and Architecture Department at the University of Pittsburgh. “These three interpretations provide the intellectual framework for the exhibition.” 

The Wall is the largest exhibition of contemporary Chinese art to travel beyond China. It also marks the first collaboration between American art museums and a major Chinese art institution focusing on contemporary Chinese art.

To coincide with the exhibition, a multidisciplinary, international research conference “The Roles and Representations of Walls in the Reshaping of Chinese Modernity,” occurred on Oct. 20-23. The conference involved approximately 25 presenters/participants from the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, and North America.


Organized by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and the University at Buffalo Art Galleries, in collaboration with the Millennium Art Museum, Beijing.

Curated by Gao Minglu.

The project director for The Wall is Holly E. Huges, Project Curator at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.

Support for The Wall has been generously provided by UB, Alright-Knox, the Millennium Art Museum, The Asian Cultural Council, the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, the UB Interdisciplinary Research and Creative Activities Fund from the Office of the Vice President for Research, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation, the W.L.S. Spencer Foundation, and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.