This is a thought-provoking book that brings both theoretical frameworks and case studies into light. Tung’s book explores the perspectives of social practice in contemporary art from within Western and East Asian contexts. It also adds significant perspectives on education and civil activism. This book is worth reading for practitioners of interdisciplinary art and researchers concerned with the relation of art to the development of communities.
Mali Wu / Associate Professor and Director of Graduate School of interdisciplinary Art, National Kaohsiung Normal University
The Challenge of Aesthetics: Social Practice in Contemporary Art is a book that shows that contemporary art practice is not about creating miracles or works of genius; it is about the stories of “communities self-awakening and being fulfilled, as well as receiving support from the ‘outside’.” For Wei Hsiu Tung, the “Plum Tree Creek,” “Togo Village,” and “Mirage” projects, amongst others, all epitomize contemporary art practice in terms of social engagement, care for the environment, civil discussion or education, and resistance to urban gentrification. Beside the usual references to Bishop, Lacy, Kester and Bourriaud, Tung’s The Challenge of Aesthetics provides Chinese language readers of studies on social practice art with a local perspective as well as worldview from within the self-reflective framework of Taiwan.
Jow-Jiun Gong / Ph.D. Associate Professor/ Doctoral Program in Art Creation and Theory, Tainan National University of the Arts
This book offers different perspectives on discussions of social practice in contemporary art, from theories to case studies whether in Western or East Asian and Taiwanese contexts. The book also reflects on the educational dimension of social practice art and its potential for civil action.
By confronting society and its reality, and by raising the critical questions of our time, art can prompt different communities to develop self-awareness through creative expression. Such art practice has the power to bring-in change beyond the confines of the museum and within our own lives. This is what makes the social practice of art pivotal in our time.