Eugene Wang (ON LEAVE: RETURN 2020)
Eugene Y. Wang is the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Professor of Asian Art. A Guggenheim Fellow (2005), he is the art history editor of the Encyclopedia of Buddhism (2004), and the author of numerous publications ranging from early Chinese bronzes to contemporary art. He book, Shaping the Lotus Sutra: Buddhist Visual Culture in Medieval China (2005), which received an academic award from Japan, explores transformation tableaux in middle-period China and ways of world-making.
His current research explores the relationship between art and mind, visual manifestations of mindscape and mental theater, the Buddhist visualization in caves and other settings, the early Chinese “generative art” that programmatically produces visual schemes, art and artificial life, art and performativity, the “voice” or subjectivity effect in art, and the making of art historical narratives.
He is also the founder and director of the Harvard FAS CAMLab (Chinese Art Media Lab). The lab explores innovative ways of showcasing Chinese art and culture through immersive installations, films, and other multimedia forms. Current lab projects include the production of To the Moon, an epic art film project about a China-born artist’s long career that culminated in taking Chinese pictorial imagination to the moon and cosmic space. Another experimental film project maps the meditative process leading to the climax of nirvana that collapses past, present, and future. Other major projects include installation designs featuring art objects and projections to evoke the experiential and imaginary spaces of classical Chinese theater.
Among the introductory courses he teaches, HAA 88, China in Twelve Artworks uses artworks at Harvard Art Museums to anchor large swaths of Chines art history. The newly developed HAA 18, Introduction to Chinese Art uses ten 20th century figures as guides, each serving as portals to enter historical memory lanes.