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CCAA | Contemporary Chinese Art Award

Zurich University of the Arts via iversity


How can we think of culture as a tool to understand foreign societies? Why emerging countries consider cultural values as instrumental in their quest for modernization? How can art contribute to a country’s public image?

These are central questions in an increasingly globalized world. Through a case study on global culture, this online course on the first ever award for contemporary art in China named CCAA aims to address these questions and identify some possible answers.

While working through six chapters, you will receive exclusive reading material, supplementary videos and background information about the developments in the Chinese art scene of the last 40 years, the Chinese Contemporary Art Award established by Mr Uli Sigg as well as the Sigg Collection as part of the newly created museum M+ in Hong Kong. Moreover, you get insights into contemporary Chinese art, first-hand information about the art scene in China, and a wide range of contacts with relevant local and international institutions and actors.


1 - Chinese contemporary art in the context of cultural globalization Chapter 1 gives you an insight into the complexity of how cultural globalization can be approached in form of a case study and why the example of China is appropriate to study these questions.

2 - Bringing up China – Uli Sigg, his collection and its internationalization Chapter 2 «Bringing up China» leads to discussions on how culture can be understood as a tool in order to understand foreign societies and how Mr Sigg strategically approached China’s art scene.

3 - The west discovers contemporary Chinese Art — and so does China Chapter 3 investigates how art can contribute to a country’s public image and how this has been used by different actors to promote a certain impression of Chinese society and cultural production.

4 - The Story of the Unknown Artist. From mapping the art scene to promoting excellency. Chapter 4 broaches the subject on how the CCAA’s approach on promoting artists has changed over the years and why the model of the «unknown artist» is introduced to trace these changes.

5 - Locating the CCAA – From letter-box company to multi-purpose centre Chapter 5 traces back the adaptations of the art prize and its institutional representation over the last 15 years. The learners find out about the enormous shifts in Chinese society, politics and also the art scene.

6 - 15 Years CCAA – Whom does Chinese contemporary art belong to? Chapter 6 aims to discuss the question of independence in art on the occasion of the CCAA’s first encounter with government censorship during the 15-year anniversary show in Shanghai. Finally, the massive museum project M+ is presented.

Taught by

Elisabeth Danuser and Michael Schindhelm


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