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Penn State College of Arts and Architecture
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Chang Tan

Assistant 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: Contemporary Chinese Artists in Search of the Public (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 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; ASIA 083: Asia on Display; ASIA 501: Seminar in Asian Studies.

  • 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


    • The Minjian Avant-garde: Contemporary Chinese Artists in Search of the Public, (Cornell University Press, upcoming 2023).

    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.

    Articles in Peer-Reviewed Journals

    • “Rewriting the Heart Sutra: The Radical Buddhism in Qiu Zhijie’s Art.” Accepted at positions: asia critique, forthcoming.
    • “A Turn to the Many: Ai Weiwei.” Diacritics, 49:1(2022), 150-55. 10.1353/dia.2021.0007
    • “Art of the Global Asias: from Identity to Intervention.” Verge: Studies in Global Asias 7:1 (2021), 49-76.
    • “Politics of (In)Visibility: Yumen, and Zhuang Hui’s Anti-Art Photography.” Art Journal, 79:2 (2020): 24-41.
  • Expertise

    Modern and Contemporary Chinese and East Asian Art