When Language Confronts
Art: A View from the
Receiving End

Since their inception three years ago, the International Awards for Art Criticism ( IAAC ) have made many important advances, thanks to the diligence and hard work of all concerned. We set out on this venture with an open mind, and this has paved the way to our current success. This, in turn, has enabled us to move forward with growing confidence, and an expanding circle of peers and supporters.

The IAAC has received submissions from a total of nearly eight hundred individuals in the three years of its existence. The applicants, writing in English or Chinese, have come from over forty countries worldwide and twenty-two Provinces of China and have included professional art critics and journalists, art school teachers and students, academics and researchers, freelance writers and a handful of highly motivated art enthusiasts. Between them, they have provided an impressive range of enlightened and informed commentary on current developments in contemporary art.

By means of its bilingual Exhibition Reviews Annual, its website and its associated programme of talks and discussions, the IAAC has, to date, provided nine principal Award winners and around sixty shortlisted competitors with global exposure and rich opportunities for professional development.

Each year, the IAAC Board and its organising partners conduct a comprehensive review of the previous year’s procedures, including the selection of jury members, publicity, the call for submissions and the process of ( anonymous ) adjudication. Reviewing the applications each year tells us much about the latest creative practices by artists all over the world and current trends in curatorial and exhibition-related practices by various museums and art institutions. This process not only enables us to map the current landscape of art criticism – we use it to examine the criteria we ourselves apply to our work, and to audit our own practices within Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum.

We encourage a fearless, holistic approach to critical thinking that connects language and art with clarity of expression, and values integrity over deference to the market, to authority or even to popular taste. We favour writing that is critically self-aware, respectful of the artist’s intentions and makes inroads into the broader fields of culture, society, the economy, science and technology.

Over the past three years, the IAAC has increasingly benefited from the wide range of resources available in Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum. We are also grateful to have forged a positive relationship with the following organisations: our principal partners at the Royal College of Art ( RCA ) in London, the International Association of Art Critics ( AICA ) in Paris and the Shanghai Artemis Art Center ( SAAC ). We have also formed long-term sponsorship relationships with the China Minsheng Bank, the Anxin Trust Co. Ltd. and the Shanghai Minsheng Art Foundation. In addition, the Cultural Department of the Shanghai Pudong New Area People’s Government offer us welcome strategic support and advice. Several national universities and academies have become our partners, in promoting and deepening the mission of the IAAC by co-organising panel discussions and public talks on art criticism. As media partners, dozens of domestic and international press and online media have conducted timely, extensive and in-depth coverage of the IAAC’s activities. An increasing number of art critics and art and culture professionals have become voluntary partners, in helping the IAAC achieve its goals. To all these partners and supporters we wish to express our heartfelt thanks!

Over the past three years the IAAC has witnessed the progressive merger between the M21 Art Museum and the Minsheng Art Museum. The new, unified Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum will continue working with the IAAC, to promote its awards and the development of art criticism. We plan to encourage new developments in museum practice with our research, and hope to integrate new levels of critical awareness into a range of museological activities.


Zhiyi Gan

Director of Minsheng Art

Administration Committee



国际艺术评论奖( IAAC )迄今已走过三年历程。回望来路,我们从三年前怀揣懵懂与憧憬地启程,到如今走出一条日渐清晰的路径,并且汇聚了越来越多的同路人,越来越从容笃定地前行,我们付出了努力和艰辛,但也收获颇多。


国际艺术评论奖自2014年举办第一届至今,已经产生了9个大奖获得者和大约60个入围作者。国际艺术评论奖通过各种方式和渠道,使他( 她 )们获得了更多的关注,并成为他们专业发展的助力。



三年来,围绕国际艺术评论奖,我们有幸以绵薄之力汇聚了美术馆所能够企及的各种外部资源,并与之缔结了良好的合作关系:英国皇家艺术学院( RCA )、国际艺术评论协会( AICA )和上海至美艺术发展中心( SAAC )成为我们长期的合作伙伴;中国民生银行股份有限公司、安信信托股份有限公司、上海民生艺术基金会成为国际艺术评论奖长期的赞助者和支持者;上海浦东新区政府及文化主管部门对M21美术馆发展给予的政策扶持与关怀鼓励;国内一些大学、学院,通过与美术馆共同开展艺术评论的系列研讨和公共座谈,成为我们推广及深化国际艺术评论奖的学术合作伙伴;数十家国内外平面及网络媒体,对国际艺术评论奖进行及时、广泛并且逐渐深入的报道,成为我们的媒介伙伴;越来越多的艺术评论家、文化艺术专业人士从关注国际艺术评论奖开始,成为关注M21美术馆发展的专业志愿者伙伴在此向所有伙伴们和支持者们一并表示由衷的谢忱。



甘智漪 上海民生现代美术馆馆长