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What’s so great about global art? Ownership, nationalism, and hybridity

Alan Chong

June 14, 2024 / 18:00-19:30 

Room 301, Building 10, Sophia University 

In person only / No registration necessary 

Hybrid, cross-cultural art demands new approaches, but art history has been slow to respond to the challenge. Instead, we have perpetuated traditional categories and methods based on long-established cultural categories. Global art today often means attaching exotic forms onto old systems, resulting in such notions as the Global Renaissance. There is perhaps another way forward, and this talk will consider the ivories produced in the 17th century in many regions (India, Sri Lanka, the Philippines) and for a variety of patrons (Europe, Mexico, Japan, the Philippines) . Collectors and observers of the period were less concerned with their diverse origins, and might have embraced a concept of a single, global category of art – one outside traditional classifications of art. 

Alan Chong has served as director of the Currier Museum of Art in New Hampshire and the Asian Civilisations Museum in Singapore. He was also curator at the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. With a PhD in 17th-century Dutch art, his recent work is on cross-cultural art and East-West connections, including “Networked objects: 17th-century Chinese ivory sculptures from the Philippines” in Across the Pacific: Art and the Manila Galleons (Singapore, 2024). 

This talk is organized by Noriko Murai (Professor, Sophia University). 


Images: Sri Lanka, mid-16th century. Virgin and Child. Ivory. / Philippines, gilding added in Mexico, early 17th century. Virgin of the Immaculate Conception. Ivory. / Both from the Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore. 


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