CAFA ART, the Thirteen-year Journey of Academic Persistence

Poster of INSIGHT INTO ART,2019

Since the beginning of the new millennium, the appearance of Chinese contemporary art ecology has been profoundly influenced and shaped by globalization, marketization, and the diversification of the information channels, thus connecting China with the world in form and content of art creations. While confronting the impact of multiple cultures rushing into the Chinese art world, the connotation of traditional Chinese culture and the core of the national spirit were mentioned once again and were placed in a crucial position during the developing process of art creation and theory research. During the nearly 40 years of development in Chinese contemporary art, the professional art media that relied on the traditional official paper-based media was always at the forefront of “discourse effectiveness” throughout the 1980s and 1990s. It is worth noting that with the rapid development of information technology in China, a large number of new media platforms have emerged, and traditional print media have begun to transform as well, which is consistent with the development trend of international media.

The rise of numerous self-media

Meanwhile, the popularity of global social media has brought about the rise of numerous self-media. It results in a discourse on the power of art criticism is no longer concentrated on the official release and authority of the industry, leading to a diversified trend that the general public can participate in sharing their thoughts. However, this transformation is a double-edged sword. Although the increasingly diverse voices about art would stimulate the further development of the art ecology in a sense, the removal of barriers in the art media industry may lead to the ragged quality of content production.

Categories of art-related topics media

In terms of nature, currently in China, the media that concern and share art-related topics can be roughly divided into the following categories. Firstly, official newspapers, magazines, and other established media developed from the era of traditional paper media. This form of media has to think about either removing or retaining the paper-based media platforms. While they are also actively expanding their voice channels on the internet in the new media era so that they will not be completely submerged under the tide of the information age.

Secondly, the professional art media websites born in China are keenly engaged in the increasingly rich social media, investigating users’ reading habits on different platforms, and actively facilitating multi-dimensional linkage with offline space and the art market.

Thirdly, a large number of integrated media and lifestyle-focused media have also started to intervene in the art circles. Relying on the attention accumulated before, such media can often draw more attention to the process of collaborating with art institutions, thus can always realize the effect of “breaking the circle” when promoting various art events.

Fourthly, international art media that have been active in the Western art circles for a long time have also stepped into China over the past ten years, establishing their own Chinese editions. In a content sense, they either translate and introduce the content of their foreign editions or start to observe the Chinese art ecology to expand their perspective. Of course, the rise of various self-media has also enriched the dissemination of art events through various forms to a certain extent, contributing to the popularization of art. In the art media circles with such rich dimensions, the emergence of CAFA ART INFO is rather special in terms of its background and nature.


Formally launched in January 2009, CAFA ART INFO relies on the profound academic background and rich artistic resources of the China Central Academy of Fine Arts (abbr. CAFA) to conduct its diversified practices. In the past thirteen years, the team of CAFA ART INFO has been insisting on a road of purely academic art media, exploring cutting-edge art news, focusing on academic content, art pedagogy, and up-to-date research status.

The “Editorial Board of Academic Journals” of CAFA

Within the framework of the Academy, in 2015, CAFA ART INFO was incorporated into the research department system of the “Editorial Board of Academic Journals” of CAFA, which has provided CAFA ART INFO with a more solid backing in its academic foundation and theoretical achievements. By doing so, together with the two renowned art academic journals, namely, Art Research and World Art, CAFA ART INFO jointly keeps contributing to creating CAFA’s all-around academic media image of “two journals plus one website”.

In addition, the continuous operation of on-site art observation and reporting, original critical opinion production and delivery out of the Academy have facilitated CAFA ART INFO to achieve a “high-quality academic reputation” and wide-ranging influence in the art circles, thus becoming a highly trusted partner of many art institutions, universities, and artists at home and abroad. 


A Screenshot of CAFA ART INFO (EN) , 2022


Currently, CAFA ART INFO operates with both the Chinese edition (CN. 中央美术学院艺术资讯网) and the English edition. The contents of the two complement each other and jointly contribute to creating an art and cultural exchange platform between the world and China. The Chinese edition and the English edition share the following five columns, namely, Xin Wen (CN. 新闻, “Art News”), Zhuan Ti (CN. 专题, “Special Topics”), Guan Dian (CN.观点, “Opinions”), Shi Pin (CN.视频, “Videos” ), Ren Wu (CN.人物, “Figures” ). In addition, the Chinese edition also features another three independent columns, namely, Yan Jiu (CN.研究, “Research”), Jiao Yu (CN.教育, “Art Education”), and Xue Bao (CN.学报, “Academic Journals of CAFA”). As a research-based art exchange platform, the website of CAFA ART INFO attracts visitors from more than 100 countries around the world, including the United States, Europe, East Asia, and Southeast Asia, among others. 


CAFA ART INFO-Art News delivers cutting-edge art news at home and abroad. In addition to gathering art news reports on regular art events, this column also presents unique perspectives on domestic and international exhibitions, lectures and academic activities of the CAFA ART INFO editorial board. While paying attention to important overseas exhibitions by Chinese artists of different generations, it is also concerned with the introduction of critical international art activities with an academic research value.

CAFA ART INFO-Opinions feature original in-depth academic articles by CAFA ART INFO’s editorial board, covering criticism and analysis of specific exhibitions, practical observations of artistic phenomena and artist groups, as well as in-depth interviews and conversations that concern various aspects of the art ecology. The Chinese edition also sets a sub-column, inviting well-known Chinese art scholars, critics, and curators to regularly share their latest commenting articles and academic achievements.


A Screenshot of CAFA ART INFO (CN) –Opinions, 2022


CAFA ART INFO-Special Topics in the Chinese edition and English edition provide different perspectives on the subject matter. The Chinese edition features significant world-widely academic activities and cutting-edge trends in art industry, organizing diversified forms of original articles, interviews and investigation reports, such as the special topic “International Art Education Conference | How could art education change the world as a force?”. While the “Special Topics” in the English edition are more concerned with the international art ecology, overseas Chinese artists community, as well as the artistic practice and living conditions of overseas artists and art practitioners in China. It is intended to form a vibrant cross-cultural dialogue through this column. The special topic “The Cross-section of Art Ecology in 2020” vigorously elaborates such an intention.  


A Screenshot of Reflecting the Sharing Moment, the Online Exhibition Organized by CAFA ART INFO on 29 September, 2020


CAFA ART INFO-Videos continuously share original video content produced by the team. Apart from regular activity videos such as academic lectures, exhibition views, and in-depth artists’ interviews, this column is also a platform to present the brand video projects curated by the editorial board of CAFA ART INFO. For instance, “INSIGHT INTO ART” is a series of lecture videos which is dedicated to the dissemination of artistic ideas and knowledge sharing. “ART WALK: Behind the Scenes” is a micro-video program focusing on independent artists’ working environments, life stories, and artistic creations. All the brand video projects have aroused huge attention and discussions in the art circles.

CAFA ART INFO-Figures is an “archive database of art figures” that the team of CAFA ART INFO has continuously enriched and perfected since the establishment of the website. This column features Chinese and overseas artists, historians, and curators who have passed away and are currently active in the art scene. Every page of an art figure includes his or her biographical materials, creative images, manuscripts, articles, publications, and related criticisms from the art circles, etc. By supplementing the content of this column successively, the team of CAFA ART INFO intends to draw a magnificent landscape of art ecology based on the team’s unique perspective.

Besides, the column of Research in the Chinese edition which looks into the frontier theoretical writings and research trends in the art world, and is divided into “Theses” and “Publications” for promotion; the Art Education column in the Chinese edition focuses on domestic and foreign art institutions, theoretical articles, educational trends and recommends high-quality courses; the column of Academic Journals of CAFA in the Chinese edition regularly shares the chapter contents of the two academic journals Art Research and World Art.

In addition to the fixed columns of the website, CAFA ART INFO has also initiated a series of online and offline academic events based on continuous observation and reflection on the dynamics of the art industry. For example, “CAI Young Artists Lab” launched in 2017, “Reflecting the Sharing Moment—CAFA ART INFO International Online Exhibition” curated in 2019, and the website construction and operation of the Chinese version of Documenta, etc. At the same time, relying on the website itself, CAFA ART INFO is also actively engaged in many social media platforms at home and abroad. Through successively sharing academic opinions and diversified content on the Chinese edition of WeChat official platform, Weibo, Toutiao, Douyin (TikTok), WeChat Video Channel, Bilibili, etc., and the English edition of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and other platforms, CAFA ART INFO is gradually constructing an omnimedia matrix at home and abroad which is with plural tentacles and solid content.

We the people are encountering an era in which the evolving of virtual reality space, online world, remote communication and artificial intelligence is growing faster than ever before. While the fragmented reading habit brought about by the saturation of information greatly expands each individual’s vision, the team of CAFA ART INFO clearly realizes that the short-term satisfaction brought about by shallow reading and fragmented information acquisition is not conducive to the critical thinking and long-term development of individuals and society as a whole. In the turbulent, impetuous, and consumer-oriented era, CAFA ART INFO has always adhered to this lonely “journey of academic art media” and continued to output art reports with both quality and attitude.

At the same time, relying on the support of various resources of CAFA, CAFA ART INFO has always insisted on producing non-profit purely academic content. It is precisely because of this that we can maintain independent thoughts and voices outside the constraints of the market and business, planning more reflective academic activities. Herein, CAFA ART INFO looks forward to the attention of more like-minded art scholars, artists, and art practitioners at home and abroad, and welcomes various forms of exchange and cooperation. It is expected that in the collision of ideas and practices between different cultures, the human artistic spirit will continue to be passed on.


The media matrix of CAFA ART INFO






WeChat official platform/WeChat Video Channel: 中央美院艺讯网

Weibo: 中央美术学院艺讯网




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Currently the associate research fellow at Central Academy of Fine Arts (abbr. CAFA), the editor-in-chief of the Chinese version of CAFA ART INFO. She graduated from the Department of Art History and the Department of Printmaking at CAFA with a bachelor's degree and a master's degree respectively. She is now the Ph.D. candidate in CAFA with the research focus on Chinese modern and contemporary art and criticism. Her personal research project entitled Research on Contemporary Art Criticisms in the Context of Pan-Media Communication was found by the 2020 Independent Research Project of the Central Academy of Fine Arts. She participated in the compilation of several publications, such as Memory of the People’s Republic of China 1949-2019, and has published more than ten papers in various academic journals such as Art Research/ 中央美术学院副研究员,现为中央美术学院艺讯网中文版主编。本科与硕士分别毕业于中央美术学院美术史系和版画系,目前为中央美术学院美术学博士在读。主要从事中国现当代美术与批评研究,个人科研项目《泛媒介传播语境下的当代艺术批评研究》获中央美院2020年度自主科研立项资助。参与《共和国美术记忆1949—2019》等著作编写,在《美术研究》等学术刊物发表论文十余篇。