Gallerist Pearl Lam on Why the West’s Expansion Into Asia’s Art Scene Might Not Be Entirely Healthy

Pearl Lam's cut to the chase analysis of the Asian art scene and how It is still pretty much colonised.

"....Auction houses have been the voice of the art scene because there is no great museum to fulfill that role. In the West, museums have been integral in shaping the culture, however, in China there is no great museum influential enough to be the voice. Up until now, most of the countries in Asia have not put real money toward the museums. China, in particular—it has many museums, but none of them have a big enough budget to buy good pieces or build a reputable exhibition program.

I think every artist in China has read about Western theories of art....

Theory, as we know it, is a Western concept. People say it’s an “international language.” Why would we call it that? Is it really universal, or is it just another form of colonization? We’re always talking about diversity, but actually, our art culture is not that diverse. It’s just based on a standardized Western approach. The West favors artists who talk about social issues and politics and work in conceptual art.

...Every artist wants to have institutional success and international recognition, but in order to get that they have to cater to the Western approach. Until we have really important, influential museums in Asia that can become the voice of the culture, we don’t stand a chance..."

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