Yi GU is an associate professor of modern and contemporary art and visual culture, with a focus on Asia especially China. Her research interests include cold war visual culture and post-socialist art, comparative media studies, Chinese photography history and contemporary photography in Asia, politics of aesthetics, data visualization, and visual methodologies across disciplines. Her book Chinese Ways of Seeing and Open-Air Painting (Harvard University Press Asia Center, 2020) points out an ocular turn of China’s twentieth century as a foundation for a revisionist history of modern Chinese art. She is currently completing a manuscript on socialist data visualization and China's contemporary Digital Countryside initiative. She is a co-editor of open-access academic journal Trans Asia Photography and a convening member of the research project “Recalibrating Postwar Chinese Art: Digital Humanities and Alternative Archives.”
Ph.D. 2009 History of Art and Architecture, Brown University
Dissertation: “Scientising Vision in China: Photography, Outdoor Sketching, and the Reinvention of Landscape Perception, 1912-1949”
Supervisor: Professor Douglas Nickel
M.A. 2002 Archaeology and Museum Studies, Fudan University
B.A. 1999 Chinese Literature, Fudan University
Gu, Yi. Chinese Ways of Seeing and Open-Air Painting. Harvard University Asia Center, 2020.
Gu, Yi “Which East, Whose South: Reflections on Art of the Socialist Bloc.” On Our Time, no. 2 Constellations of Intimacies, 2021.
Gu, Yi. “What’s in a Name? Photography and the Reinvention of Visual Truth in China, 1840-1911.” The Art Bulletin, vol. 95, no. 1, 2013, pp. 120–38.
Gu, Yi. “We Love Peace: Photographic Effect and Chinese People’s Volunteer Force Soldiers in the Korean War.” The Chinese Historical Review, vol. 25, no. 2, 2018, pp. 196–207.
Gu, Yi. “The ‘Peasant Problem’ and Time in Contemporary Chinese Art.” Representations, vol. 136, no. 1, Nov. 2016, pp. 54–76.
Gu, Yi. “Photography and Its Chinese Origins.” Photography and Its Origins, edited by Tanya Sheehan and Andres Zervigon, Routledge, 2015, pp. 157–70.
Gu, Yi. “Powkee and the Era of Large Studios.” Portraiture and Early Studio Photography in China and Japan, edited by Roberta Wue and Luke Gartlan, Ashgate, 2017, pp. 59–76.
Gu, Yi. “Prince Chun Through the Lens.” Ars Orientalis, vol. 43, 2013, pp. 125–38.