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

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.
Jetmen push boundaries in the skies above China
Daredevil “jetmen” jumped out of a plane with small jet engines strapped to their backs for a stunt flight over the dramatic scenery of Zhangjiajie, in China’s central province of Hunan. For their flight on November 14, 2019, they used carbon fiber wings with attached jetpacks to zip around at speeds up to 250mph. The demonstration was part of Expo 2020 Dubai’s “Mission: Human Flight” program, which aims to develop equipment that ultimately allows “fully autonomous human flight.”
This woman uses wacky dresses to help change the world
Most people choose what they wear to flatter their bodies.  For Chinese artist Kong Ning, fashion is a soapbox she can employ to call people’s attention to some of the most pressing issues affecting the world. And when she uses that soapbox, Kong goes all out. In 2015, she wore an outfit dotted with hundreds of anti-pollution breathing masks and sauntered around smog-choked Beijing.  In 2013, she stitched 999 respirators onto a wedding dress. She titled it “Marry the Blue Sky” and wore it at the Beijing Exhibition Center. In 2016, she wore a wedding dress – made of 100 inflatable white doves – at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York. She attached plastic models of Notre
How a 3am call and a secret inspire film remembering China’s abandoned children
One Sunday afternoon in February 2017, Chinese film director Yuchao Feng was in his flat in the US state of New Jersey when he received a phone call from his mother that would shock and inspire him. Feng knew something was wrong – not just because it was 3am in the northern Chinese city of Tianjin, where his mother, Wang Jingjing, was calling from, but because they rarely spoke. “My parents were not around much when I was growing up in Ningde,” says Feng, recalling the city of three million in Fujian province, in the country’s southeast, known for its tea cultivation. “And we talked even less after I moved to the US to study film in 2011.” Feng’s mother was having a nightmare similar to thos