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Karen Smith (UK)

Executive Director, OCAT Xi’an


As an influential international advocate for Chinese Contemporary Art, Smith has devoted herself to Chinese Contemporary Art since she moved to China in 1992. Her objective portrayal of the different stages of Chinese Contemporary Art, the books she wrote on Chinese contemporary artists, and the articles published on Chinese and international professional journals have become important outsets for international audiences to understand Chinese Contemporary Art; such publications include Nine Lives: The Birth of Chinese Avant-Garde Art in New China (2008), As Seen: Notable Artworks by Chinese Artists (2012). In 2013, Smith was invited by Taschen Publishing to pen the Chinese section of Art Now Volume 4.

Smith has curated many group and solo exhibitions on Chinese Contemporary Art in China and abroad, including A Potent Force (Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai 2013), Music to My Eyes (Today Art Museum, Beijing 2009), Subtlety (Platform China, Beijing 2008), The Real Thing (Tate Liverpool, UK 2007), The Chinese: Photography and Video in China (Kunstmuseum Wolfsberg, Germany 2004), as well as Ai Weiwei, LiuXiaodong, Xu Ruotao, Jia Aili and other artists’ solo exhibitions. Smith became academic advisor of OCAT Shenzhen and was appointed Executive Director of OCAT Xi’an in 2012.