The Chinese contemporary art market is booming! Sotheby’s record-breaking auctions in Hong Kong last month have proved that this is a market anyone working in or collecting Asian contemporary art can stand to know more about. To help, we’ve rounded up seven books we know will have you clued up in no time on the top artists working in China today. Fill your shelves or those of others with any of these essential books these holidays.

60 Years of Chinese Art: Contemporary Art in the People's Republic of China (1949-2009)


60 Years of Chinese Art: Contemporary Art in the People’s Republic of China (1949-2009)
By Long River Press

This fascinating book offers a road map to understanding major artistic trends in China. By tracing the origin and development of “state sponsored” art in China from a once much-maligned cultural entity to serving as the cultural framework for post-Tiananmen artists, we can see how these two major “schools” are at the root of contemporary art in China today.

Click here to buy this book.

Contemporary China: An Introduction

Contemporary China – An Introduction
By Michael Dillon

This book presents a concise introduction to contemporary China. It is intended as a first book for those coming new to the subject, providing the essential information that most people need to know, without going into excessive detail. Its coverage includes the economy, society, politics and international relations; China’s history, especially the twentieth century; and Taiwan and Hong Kong as well as the People’s Republic of China.

Click here to buy this book.

Does Price Matter

Does Price Matter?: A Critical Assessment Of Prices In The Contemporary Chinese Art Market
By Linlin Chen

By analysing the price records of contemporary Chinese art at the main auction houses, supplemented by case studies of key artists, collectors, curators and other major players, this thesis investigates the reasons for and explores the meaning of current pricing of contemporary Chinese art. It assesses how high prices are not only significant for the art market but also impact the critical reception of the artwork.

Click here to buy this book.

The Revolution Continues

The Revolution Continues: New Art from China
By The Saatchi Gallery

China has emerged as the next frontier for contemporary art. Chinese artists, such as Zhang Xiaogang, Yue Minjun, Wang Guangyi, and Shen Shaomin, are producing some of today’s most provocative new work. Not only is this the seminal book on the subject, it is the first book to bring contemporary Chinese art into focus.

Click here to buy this book.

Young Chinese Artists

Young Chinese Artists: The Next Generation
By Christoph Noe, Xenia Piech, Cordelia Steiner

The artists presented in this book came of age in a time when freedom of thought and expression was possible. Unlike their predecessors, these artists did not feel a compulsion to politicise their work. This volume features thirty artists, examples of their work, and short texts about their art and lives in China.

Click here to buy this book.

Chinese Ink Painting Now

Chinese Ink Painting Now
By Jason Kuo

China’s brush-and-ink traditions remain vital in contemporary Chinese art; the genre is continually under renewal by successive generations of artists. This book reflects the recent dissemination of Chinese art and the explosion of interest in this work in the West. Nearly 60 artists are discussed here and in addition to highly informative textual materials, the book features more than 170 images drawn from the world’s leading institutional and private collections.

Click here to buy this book.


Mahjong: Contemporary Chinese Art From The Sigg Collection
By Feng Boyi, Christoph Heinrich, Pi Li, Uli Sigg, Li Xianting, Hou Hanru

Mahjong, named after the popular and ancient Chinese game of chance, presents more than 200 paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs, video pieces, and installations from Sigg’s collection. In addition to a number of internationally famous works, such as Ai Weiwei’s Han vase with Coca-Cola logo, Fang Lijun’s bald heads, or Xu Bing’s “Xinglish” calligraphy, this book also offers readers a unique opportunity to discover tremendously gifted artists still largely unknown outside China. Listed in 2008 as one of the top 5 books on Chinese art recommended by Chinese art specialist and Art Radar guest contributor Pippa Dennis.

Click here to buy this book.

We have a number of other books on contemporary Asian art listed on our Amazon store – click here to browse through a selection that includes 8 books on controversial Chinese artist Ai Weiwei.

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By Brittney

Brittney is a writer, curator and contemporary art gallerist. Born in Singapore and based in New York City, Brittney maintains a deep interest in the contemporary art landscape of Southeast Asia. This is combined with an equally strong interest in contemporary art from the Asian diasporas, alongside the issues of identity, transmigration and global relations.

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