The wasteland of creative production: A case study of contemporary Chinese art

Michael Alexander Ulfstjerne*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


With the new magnitude for the relatively unhindered production and circulation of artworks, galleries and contemporary art museums are burgeoning across the larger cities of China. This article provides an empirical example of how contemporary and avant-garde art is produced and valuated in the art communities that thrive on the recent international recognition of Chinese artworks. It addresses some of the effects that occur when art production becomes mediated by cultural entrepreneurs and propelled by resourceful investors. Challenging notions of autonomy and independence in the sphere of aesthetics and contemporary art, the article addresses some of the ways in which art becomes co-opted, not only by commercial agents, but also by official ambitions. The commercialization of the cultural sphere reveals a paradigmatic shift, giving a stronger emphasis to the intangible notion of creativity as a new driving force for economic development in China.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCopenhagen Journal of Asian Studies
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)17-38
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • China
  • Contemporary art
  • Creativity
  • Cultural industry
  • Markets


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