Campus-Wide Festival Explores Chinese Arts and Culture

Campus-Wide Festival Explores Chinese Arts and Culture

"Envisioning China: A Festival of Arts and Culture," February-June 2014

Since February, “Envisioning China: A Festival of Arts and Culture” has explored the influence of Chinese arts and culture, particularly opera, in knitting together the vast Chinese empire through a range of cultural events on campus spanning from live opera performances to a contemporary video installation.

“‘Envisioning China’ is an opportunity to magnify a selection of the incredible work on the arts and culture of China that is being done by our faculty, students, and professional arts organizations,” noted Lawrence Zbikowski, associate professor in music and deputy provost for the arts, in UChicago News.

Two exhibits at the Smart Museum of Art kicked off the five-month exploration of the influence of Chinese opera. “Performing Images: Opera in Chinese Visual Culture” offers one of the first in-depth looks of opera’s influence within the Ming and Qing dynasties. "It was everywhere, and it was a shared culture," curator Judith Zeitlin, William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, told the Wall Street Journal.

While “Performing Images” explores the history of Chinese opera, “Inspired by the Opera: Contemporary Chinese Photography and Video” examines opera’s continued influence in modern Chinese culture. Curated by Wu Hung, Harrie A. Vanderstappen Distinguished Service Professor of Art History, “Inspired by Opera” presents the work of four contemporary Chinese artists.

In addition to exhibits, “Envisioning China” includes many musical and theatrical performances. On April 12, the Logan Center hosted Chinese opera star Ling Ke and the Tianjin Peking Opera Company for “A Night at the Peking Opera.” On June 1, Lan Weiwei, a virtuoso of the pipa, the Chinese lute, will perform a new composition by Department of Music alumnus Chen Yao, PhD’12.

The festival runs until June 15. For a full list of events, visit


Find out more about “Envisioning China” at:

The Chinese Fine Arts Society

Wall Street Journal


Chicago Tribune


UChicago News

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April 29, 2014