CIHA 2016 in Beijing

34th World Congress of Art History

About History Press Release Sessions Schedule Activities Participants Venue Discussion Registration Closed


LI, Vivian
Re-Moved: Art and Spatial Politics in Taiwan

Session 8 Art and Taboo

Worcester Art Museum


Once standing prominently on high pedestals placed in front of middle schools, universities, courthouses, and hospitals all over Taiwan, the over 200 removed statues of the controversial leader Chiang Kai-shek now are displayedtogether in the Cihu Memorial Sculpture Park (慈湖纪念雕塑公園)established by the government. The Cihu Memorial Sculpture Park not only preserves the removed statues, but also imbues them with new meaning in an environment meant for art and reflection. This deliberate transformation of the statues’ physical surroundings and social import underscores a dilemma in the relationship between art and politics:How do artworks made to maintain an explicit political prohibition, especially when they belong to large-scale public sculpture, stay relevantafter that prohibition has been deemed irrelevant?  Thesculpture park’s unique collection is a convenientdeparture point from which to examinethis issue.  By analyzing the transfer of the Chiang Kai-shek statuesfrom a political context to the artistic environment of the sculpture park, this paper seeks to explore their complicated identity between politics and art. 


A specialist in late imperial, modern, and contemporary art in China, Vivian Li has lectured widely on 20th-century Chinese art as well as global post-1945 art. She has contributed essays to edited volumes and journals, including the Oxford Art Journal, Art History, andthe Encyclopedia of Modern China. Li received her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. As a Fulbright scholar, she studied the role of sculpture in the development of modern art in China, and her research was also supported by the Freer and Sackler Galleries of Art as well as the Getty Research Institute. She is currently Assistant Curator of Asian Art at the Worcester Art Museum. Previously she worked at the Dallas Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the Pacific Asia Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.