Ceremony Held After One Year Of Selection And Voting
Capping off a roller-coaster year in the Chinese art world — which saw prices for top works by blue-chip contemporary artists surge, domestic Chinese collectors become more discriminating, and more ultra-wealthy Chinese jump into the market, this week the first-ever China Arts Awards took place in Beijing. Held at the National Museum of China and sponsored by the China Academy of Art, the awards, one year in the making, were billed as the highest-level academic arts awards in the country. Far more aimed at intellectuals and academics than other contemporary art-focused events like this year’s Art Power awards, according to the organizers, the China Arts Award “recognizes outstanding artistic achievements by artists from the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.”
After a year-long selection and voting process, awards were given to 23 artists in all, including 11 working in fields like visual art, literature, music and calligraphy: Wang Kun (王昆), Feng Qiyong (冯其庸), Liu Guosong (刘国松), Tang Xiaodan (汤晓丹), Fan Ceng (范曾), Rao Zongyi (饶宗颐), Jia Zuoguang (贾作光), Guo Hancheng (郭汉城), Huang Miaozi (黄苗子), Jin Shangyi (靳尚谊) and Han Meilin (韩美林). An additional nine “Lifetime Achievement Awards” were presented to artists like Liu Dawei (刘大为), Jackie Chan (成龙), Wu Weishan (吴为山), Yang Feiyun (杨飞云), Yang Liping (杨丽萍), Chen Yan (陈彦), Guo Wenjing (郭文景), Peng Liyuan (彭丽媛), and Pu Cunxin (濮存昕). Recipients of three “Youth Award” winners included pianist Lang Lang (郎朗), dancer Huang Doudou (黄豆豆) and painter Niang Ben (娘本).
With the exception of Jackie Chan and Lang Lang, few of these names register as household names outside of China (or, in many cases, even in China). Still, the more traditional and academic choices for award recipients reflects the gradual institutionalization of Chinese arts, particularly in Beijing, promoted both by the central government and venues like the National Museum of China.