Pearlie Rose S. Baluyut, Ph.D., Lecturer of Art History at the SUNY Oneonta Art Department and International Committee Chair of the College Art Association (CAA) – the preeminent international leadership organization in the visual arts in the United States – joined international scholars at the first International Art Education Conference on November 2-3, 2018 held at the most elite art institution in the People’s Republic of China, the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA), which was established in 1918 in Beijing (http://en.cafa.com.cn/).
Opened by the Leadership of the Ministry of Education, CAFA President Fan Di’an, and former UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova, the two-day conference – with simultaneous and live interpretation in at least three languages as well as on-site transcribers – focused on cutting-edge issues in art education. Several keynotes were delivered by Semyon Ilyich Mikhailovsky, Ph.D. (President of Repin Academy of Fine Arts—Russia), Xu Jiang (President of China Academy of Fine Arts—China), Rem Koolhaas (Graduate School of Design, Harvard University—USA), Naren Barfield (Deputy Vice Chancellor and Provost of Royal College of Art—United Kingdom), Mohsen Mostafavi (Dean of Graduate School of Design, Harvard University-USA), and James Elkins (School of the Art Institution of Chicago—USA).
With the goal of promoting the theoretical study of art education, building a collaborative platform for global art education, and improving global art education, this conference generously funded more than one hundred international and national experts, scholars, and artists from different fields representing six simultaneous forums: the President Forum, the Design Forum, the Architecture Forum, the Art History Forum, the Art Administration Forum, and the Art Museum Forum. The Art History Forum on “How to Write A Global Art History” was chaired by Yin Jinan (Dean of the School of Humanities, CAFA—China) and James Elkins, Ph.D. (Department of Art History, Theory, and Criticism, School of the Art Institute of Chicago—USA) and convened Shao Yiyang, Ph.D. (Dean of the School of Humanities of the Central Academy of Fine Arts—China).
Besides Yin, Elkins, Shao, and Baluyut, who presented her paper entitled “The Limits and Limitlessness of Legibility: On Writing A Global Art History,” Claire Roberts, Ph.D. (Department of Art History, University of Melbourne—Australia), Sean Roberts, Ph.D. (Art History Program, Virginia Commonwealth University—USA/Qatar; President of Italian Art Society—USA), David Roxburgh, Ph.D. (Department of History of Art and Architecture, Harvard University; President of the National Committee on the History of Art—USA), Eric de Chassey, Ph.D. (Department of Art History, l’École normale supérieure de Lyon; Director General of Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art—France), and Fred S. Kleiner, Ph.D. (Department of History of Art and Architecture, Boston University—USA) also presented their papers on global art history. The concluding Art History Forum roundtable brought all speakers and CAFA President Fan to the stage, answering questions from the audience composed of faculty, students, and guests.
Through lectures and roundtable discussions, the conference comprehensively engaged with the development of art education, the contemporary transformation of traditional art, the future of design, the fusion of technology and art, issues of architecture, urbanization, and environmental protection, innovations in community art education, the study and expansion of the art-related humanities, and societal innovation in art institutions represented by the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze, Accademia di Belle Arti di Roma, American Alliance of Museums, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, Berlin Free University, British Museum, Columbia University, Cooper Union, Cornell University, Courtauld Gallery, Cuban National Art Museum, Geneva of Art and Design, Kunstmuseum Moritzburg, MIT, MOMA, Moscow State Academic Art Institute, Munch Museum, Museo Thyssen-
Bornemisza, National Art Museum of the Republic of Belarus, National Gallery Singapore, Oslo School of Architecture and Design, Pinacoteca di Brera, Princeton University, Rhode Island School of Design, San Francisco Art Institute, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Sotheby’s Institute of Art, Syracuse University, Tokyo University of the Arts, Ukrainian Academy of Arts and Architecture, University of Amsterdam, University of Bologna, University of Cambridge, University of Cape Town, and University of Mexico, among others.
On Saturday evening, all official delegates were transported 31 miles from Beijing to the province of Langfang, a prefecture-level city of Hebei Province, to witness the unveiling ceremony of the Langfang Gallery of the CAFA Museum at The International Cultural Exchange Center of The Silk Road, a large-scale public cultural service infrastructure inspired by the “flowing cloud” covering an area of 1 million square foot and a construction area of 2.7 million square foot that includes a theater, drama and philharmonic halls, art and history museums, multifunctional and commercial facilities, and other spaces to meet the demands of festivals, meetings, exhibitions, performances, and competitions. The evening concluded with an 18-course banquet and cultural performances such as Chinese opera, acrobats, and other artistic demonstrations to celebrate CAFA’s 100th year anniversary. The following day, an excursion to The Forbidden City allowed CAFA undergraduate and graduate students and international scholars to explore the rich cultural history of China. The International Art Education Conference was sponsored by the Xin’ao Group Co., Ltd., Leyard Optoelectronic Co., Ltd., Herman Miller Company Ltd., Tibet Qomolangma Glacier Water Resources Development Co., Ltd., Cathay View Art District, Generations Fund, CAFA Asset Management Co., Ltd., and the People’s Republic of China.