• Patricia Johanson and the Re-Invention of Public Environmental Art, 1958-2010
    Xin Wu
    Ashgate Press, 2013
    Xin Wu

This research is an insightful study to confront a crucial question in the history of art through the work of a contemporary artist. The project addresses the issue of translation between visual arts and landscape design in the fifty more years career of Patricia Johanson. Examining the artist's search for an 'art of the real' as a member of the post-World War II New York art world, and how such pursuit has led her from painting and sculpture to public garden and environmental art, it argues for the significance of the process of art creation, challenging the centrality of art objects. Based on extensive analysis of unpublished private archives, across the fields of art, architecture, garden, civil engineering and environmental aesthetics, it investigates the process of creation in a transdisciplinary perspective. The artist's concept of nature is highlighted and particular impacts of Chinese aesthetics and thought unveiled.

Xin Wu is a professor of art history at the College of William and Mary. Focusing on Chinese garden/landscape art and contemporary environmental art, her scholarship develops along three strands--the representation of nature, the process of art creation, and encounters between East Asia and the West. In 2009-2011, she hosted two bilingual columns on the history of Chinese landscape cultural, and contemporary design criticism. Her articles appear in: Interlacing of Words and Things: Beyond Nature and Culture; Contemporary Garden Aesthetics, Creations and Interpretations; Studies in the History of Gardens & Designed Landscapes; and Die Gartenkunst. Her books include: Patricia Johanson and the Reinvention of Public Environmental Art, 1958-2010 (2013); The New Art of Landscape: Conversations between Xin Wu and Contemporary Designers (2012); and Reconstruction of Modernity: Patricia Johanson's House & Garden Commission (2008). Her most recent research is on Song academy landscape and new perspectives in global art history.