Li Luming: Time of Publication
Artist Li Luming is simultaneously an experienced publisher. He received his Master’s Degree from the Graduate School of Chinese National Academy of Arts in 1985, which was the birthplace of Fine Arts in China (1985-1989). Li Luming returned to Changsha, Hunan Province after graduation and started to work at the Hunan Fine Arts Publishing House. Soon, Changsha and Hunan Fine Arts Publishing House became one of the main fronts for publishing in the Chinese contemporary art field. Since then, Li has founded four art journals consecutively: Painter, Art & Market, Contemporary Art, and Vision 21, the last of which was founded after 2000. These publications were perceptive, timely, and open in terms of introducing and even leading the art trends and cultural thinking during their existence. As early as 1989, Li Luming commissioned Lü Peng and Yi Dan to pen A History of China Modern Art 1979-1989, which was completed at the end of 1989 and published in 1992. Since then, Li Luming continued to conceive of and push forward the publishing of works surveying and studying the histories and phenomena of Chinese art. In 1993, he invited five critics to write a history of Chinese art each from their individual perspectives and positions. Such was an instance of his broad vision and foresight. Through the joint efforts of him and his team, Hunan Fine Arts Publishing House successively published such books as 90s Art China 1990-1999 (by Lü Peng), Chinese Contemporary Art Trend Series (more than 20 books), A History of Chinese Arts: 1949-2000 Series (5 volumes), A History of Chinese Art in the 20th Century, and Chinese Contemporary Art 1978-2008 (by Lu Hong). The extremely popular EALS22 Experimental Art Series that was nearly a must have for almost everyone in the art circle during the 1990s was Li Luming’s making too. (In collaboration with Chen Tong).
Li Luming retired from the Hunan Fine Arts Publishing House in 2017. During more than 30 years of his publishing career, he was responsible for the publishing of more than 300 contemporary art books. Artists, critics and art historians have all benefited from his work either as contributors or as readers. We have invited him to select a part of his publications (137 copies in total) to display in the reading area at the Inside-out Art Museum. Titled Time of Publication, a name borrowed from his solo exhibition in Changsha at the end of 2017, this modest exhibition of publications investigates a significant yet neglected aspect of Chinese contemporary art, by presenting the publishing practice of Li Luming. We wish to underscore the outstanding work of the individual who has been trying to establish and spread the integrity and power of scholarly work in a fast-shifting time and context.
Li Luming: Time of Publication is the second of our special project series “Inside-Out Practice”, which presents multiple forms of practice beyond artistic creations. The first of this series introduced a selection of publications by the New York-based independent art press, Printed Matter, Inc. We will be organizing a series of lectures and activities in relation to this display.