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Distributed for Seagull Books

Beijing Xingwei

Contemporary Chinese Time-based Art

From cannibalism to light-calligraphy, from self-harming to animal sacrifice, from meat entwined with sex toys to a commodity-embedded ice wall, the idiosyncratic output of Chinese time-based art over the past twenty-five years has invigorated contemporary global art movements and conversation. In Beijing Xingwei, Meiling Cheng engages with such artworks created to mark China’s rapid social, economical, cultural, intellectual, and environmental transformations in its post-Deng era.

Beijing Xingwei—itself a critical artwork with text and images unfolding through the author’s experiences with the mutable medium—contemplates the conundrum of creating site-specific ephemeral and performance-based artworks for global consumption. Here, Cheng shows us how art can reflect, construct, confound, and enrich us. And at a moment when time is explicitly linked with speed and profit, Beijing Xingwei provides multiple alternative possibilities for how people with imagination can spend, recycle, and invent their own time.

510 pages | 100 color plates, 36 halftones | 7 1/2 x 9 | © 2013


Art: Art--General Studies

Asian Studies: General Asian Studies

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"Beijing Xingwei is richly situated at the crossroads of Chinese and US politics and culture. This kind of cross-cultural knowledge, information, and insight is absolutely invaluable for the newly burgeoning ’global’ histories of contemporary art and performance to develop further."

Amelia Jones, author of Body Art/Performing the Subject

"There is no question in my mind that Cheng’s Beijing Xingwei will be one of the most significant new releases of the next decade." 

Laurie Beth Clark | University of Wisconsin-Madison

Table of Contents


Notes on Translation and Image Captions

Preface: To You Who Read and Help Me Build This Book­­—Time Arcs in Five Flights

Introduction: Cross-Millennial Chronicle

Chapter 1: Multicentric Repasts

Chapter 2: Violent Capital

Chapter 3: Limit Zones

Chapter 4: Animalworks

Chapter 5: Indigestible Commodities

Chapter 6: Keepsake Morsels

Appendix: Ai Weiwei—From Faking, to Acting, to Believing, to…

Glossary of Chinese Terms

Works Cited


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