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Penn State College of Arts and Architecture
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Chang Tan

Associate Professor of Art History and Asian Studies
Dr. Chang Tan
201 Borland

Dr. Tan specializes in Chinese, East Asian, and Asian diasporic art of the 20th and 21st century. Her research interests include global avant-gardism, public and socially engaged art, eco art and activism, vernacular photography, and museum studies. Her upcoming book The Minjian Avant-garde: : Art of the Crowd in Contemporary China (Cornell, 2023) studies how experimental artists mixed with, brought changes to, and let themselves be transformed by minjian, the volatile and diverse public of the post-Mao era, and critically assesses the rise of populism in both art and politics. Dr. Tan has published in peer-reviewed journals such as positions: asia critique, Art Journal, Diacritics, World Art, and Third Text. Her curatorial and editorial activities explore the connections between Asian and Asian American art. She currently works on two projects. One studies the intersection between photography, landscape painting, design, and theater in China and the Chinese diaspora from the 19th century to present. The other examines the tension between land ownership and contemporary eco art in the Sinophone world. Her research on these projects have been supported by the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation and the Humanities Institute at Penn State.

  • Education
    • Ph.D. in comparative literature and contemporary art history (University of Texas at Austin)
    • M.A. in comparative literature (University of Texas at Austin)
    • B.A. in Economics and Chinese Literature/Language (Peking University, China)
  • Courses Taught

    ARTH100: Intro to Art; ARTH 120Z: Asian Art and Architecture; ARTH220Z: Chinese Art; ARTH 350W: Writing for Art History; ARTH 435: Grounded Visions: Modern Art and Ecology; ARTH 435: Studies in Modern Art; ARTH470: Studies in Contemporary Art; ARTH515: Worlding Art History; ARTH597: Chinese Art in the World; ASIA 083: Asia on Display; ASIA 501: Seminar in Asian Studies.

  • Honors + Awards

    Center for Humanities and Information Fellowship; Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation Research Fellowship; Humanities Institute Residential Fellowship.

  • Exhibitions + Productions

    Global Asias: Contemporary Asian and Asian American Art from the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation, Palmer Museum of Art, Fall 2021; Knoxville Museum of Art, Spring 2022; Heckscher Museum of Art, Summer 2022; Yellowstone Art Museum, Fall 2022; Pacific Asia Museum, Spring 2023.

  • Publications + Presentations


    Edited Volume

    • Remapping Asian and Asian Diasporic Art. Special Issue in Verge: Studies in Global Asias 8.2. (Minnesota University Press), co-edited with Laura Kina and Tina Chen. 232 pp. 2022.


    Selected Articles in Peer-Reviewed Journals

  • Service + Affiliations

    College Art Association; Association of Asian Studies; Association of Asian American Studies; Association for Chinese Art History.

  • Expertise

    Chinese, East Asian, and Asian Diasporic Art, 20th -21st century.