News and insight on trends in fine art, art auctions and leading artists

Chinese artist finds himself in nationalistic storm
For Andy Warhol, making provocative art pieces of pop stars and political icons, including Mao Zedong, made him fabulously wealthy. For Shanghai-based Zhang Chenchu, similar works have put him in the middle of a nationalistic storm of criticism and controversy.  Much like the late father of pop art, Zhang has an addiction to painting celebrities – from Chinese billionaires and politicians to writers, movie stars and intellectuals, also including Mao.   But one of Zhang’s latest paintings sparked a storm in China and put him at the center of a debate about national pride. The work, which was released on Monday, features the faces of four Chinese scholars on a red background. A yellow five-po
A furniture heiress is becoming a champion of the Chinese art scene
Che Xuanqiao isn’t like other multi-millionaire heiresses. At least that’s what she’d have you believe. Sitting in a coffee shop sporting a simple t-shirt, her clothes and make-up free appearance belie her position as one of China’s rich millennials. And one who is shaking up the Chinese art market. China now boasts as many young collectors as it does young artists. With money to burn, these wealthy second-generation young adults like Che are turning their purchases into exhibitions, joining a proliferation of private museums and exhibition spaces springing up in Hong Kong. Che’s love of art has led to an exhibition-sized art collection, which will soon be showcased in a new art space she h
Cultural icon ‘plagiarism’ sparks debate about art
A Chinese artist and academic has painted himself into a pickle with art lovers who have accused him of plagiarising cultural icons. But the artist, Feng Feng, a professor at one of China’s top fine-art academies, has hit back at critics, saying the works achieved his goal of getting people to talk about art. Feng stands accused of plagiarising Miffy, the world-famous cartoon rabbit created by a Dutch artist in 1955.  But he refuses to apologize for putting a duck’s beak on the cultural icon in his “Rabbitduck” series. “Plagiarism and appropriation represent two different attitudes,” Feng told Inkstone.   “Those who plagiarise often try to hide the original by making changes to it, and they
An artistic movement emerges around dumplings
The world, it seems, has gone mad for dumplings, with fans of the plump pillows of perfection getting all steamed up about them. But it’s not just on the dining table that these doughy parcels of deliciousness inspire rapturous delight. Dumplings have moved from the back burner to the front and center of the show from China to Hong Kong, America, and India, where artists create dumpling-themed designs for products gaining popularity worldwide. “I think dumplings have become a shorthand for various Asian cuisines in the West,” says Stephanie Shih, 34, a New York-based Taiwanese-American artist. In Hong Kong, dumplings are Elizabeth Fry’s ultimate comfort food. The designer, entrepreneur and
Famed pianist Liu Shikun has a new daughter. He’s 81 years old
A famed Chinese pianist has caused jaws to drop across China, and it’s not for anything he did in the concert hall.  On November 7, Liu Shikun and his 45-year-old wife welcomed a newborn daughter and named her Bei Bei, meaning precious baby in Chinese. Liu is now 81 years old, and this fact, along with the large age gap between him and his wife, has sparked a conversation in China about love and relationships.  “She is our best gift received,” said the mother, Sun Ying (or Samantha Suen), in Chinese news reports. Sun is also a performing pianist and added that she hopes the daughter will carry on the musical heritage.  But Liu’s older age had many worried about an added risk of genetic dise
Will Western museums return treasures taken from Asia and Africa?
American and European museums are reassessing whether and how to return artefacts claimed in Asia and Africa during conflicts and colonial eras as global sentiment changes over their rightful ownership. Museums are considering which items should be given back to their countries of origin, whose governments have been asking for decades for the return of pieces of their heritage, with activists becoming increasingly strident. Treasures from China’s Qing dynasty, including a carved white jade figure of the star god of longevity, Shulao, are scheduled for auction in Hong Kong on November 30 in a sale titled “Imperial Glories from the Springfield Museums Collection.” The decision by Springfield M
Artist proves how difficult it is to avoid Chinese surveillance
On a sunny autumn day in Beijing, a group of people snuck down a street, inching sideways in a line, hand in hand. On the next block, they crouched next to a group of bicycles.  These people were not running from the police or trying to avoid an ex; they were on a mission to “disappear” from the street as part of a performance art piece organized by Deng Yufeng. The staged art project was an act of defiance against China’s pervasive surveillance system.  He wanted to dig into the invasion of privacy in China and he views his work as enlightenment for the public.  The idea had first come to Deng in 2015, who uses art to critique sensitive topics in China. He had gone undercover in previous
Chinese villager creates wall painting using burning charcoal
A villager in China’s Anhui province uses burning charcoal to create art pieces on the walls of an abandoned primary school. The artist, Chao Ge, stopped drawing after high school, but picked it up again while on lockdown during the Covid-19 pandemic. He likes to draw animals and Chinese heroes the most.