Course Title: Contemporary Asian Art

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Contemporary Asian Art

Credit Points: 12

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


340H Art


Sem 1 2006,
Sem 1 2010,
Sem 2 2012,
Sem 2 2014,
Sem 2 2016


Hong Kong Arts Centre


340H Art


Offsh 1 10

Course Coordinator: Dr Kristen Sharp

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925-2412

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Availability: Via Appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

HUSO 2186 Art History and Theory 1  OR  HUSO 2213 Art History and Theory 2 OR Equivalent

Course Description

Contemporary Asian art has increasingly played a significant role in the international artworld since the 1990s. This course introduces you to a wide range of contemporary art practices and exhibitions from the region, with a focus on China and Japan. It locates art practice in relation to social, cultural and historical contexts and developments in Asia.

Through a comparative approach, you will explore complex regional and transnational interactions in art. Key topics will include: exploring the critical tensions underlying definitions of ‘Asia’, ‘modernities’ and ‘contemporary,’ as well as issues of nationalism, globalization, post-colonial politics, cultural identity and the social/political agency of art.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

In this course you will develop the following program capabilities:

  • engage in autonomous and continued learning, apply new theories of practice and embrace new developments in cultural/artistic production 
  • develop a critically reflective arts practice, in order to continually develop, change and plan for a future that is both informed and improved by arts practice 
  • form, develop and implement a vision and philosophy of art as a profession, contributing to the positive development of culture in both local and international contexts

At the completion of this course you will be able to:

  • Identify and critically analyse emerging themes and practices in contemporary Asian art 
  • Discuss and analyse contemporary Asian art in its social, cultural and historical context 
  • Identify transnational and regional interactions and exchanges in art and their influences 
  • Critically analyse the politics of local, regional and national identities in art 
  • Engage in analysis through writing and oral presentations
  • Engage in independent research and appropriate citation in writing and presentations
  • Use terminology appropriate to the culture and politics of contemporary Asian art

Overview of Learning Activities

In this course you will engage in a range of learning activities such as lectures, screenings, reading and discussion of texts, critical and analytical thinking, group discussions and/or on-line forums, research and essay-writing and/or class presentations. In lectures and seminars, you will examine and discuss a range of artists and works.  Key themes and concepts include: defining ‘Asia’, 'Modernity' and 'Contemporary', cultural and geo-political identity, postcolonialism, globalization and the social/political agency of art will be drawn upon during this course to analyse and discuss artists and artworks.

Overview of Learning Resources

RMIT University will provide you with a range of resources and tools to engage in this course. RMIT University’s online systems will also support your learning and you will have access to a wide range of online and hardcopy resources through RMIT University Library.

Supplementary notes, readings, examples and lists of works, guides about essay writing and referencing will be posted on Blackboard. A course bibliography will be distributed with a list of recommended readings

Overview of Assessment

You will be assessed on how well you meet the learning outcomes in this course and on your development against the program capabilities. Assessment may include a range of written, oral and online presentations.

Feedback will be given on all assessment tasks and staff members are available for individual consultation