The essays and artworks gathered in this volume examine the visual manifestations of postcolonial struggles in art in East and Southeast Asia, as the world transitioned from the communist/capitalist ideological divide into the new global power structure under neoliberalism that started taking shape during the Cold War.

The contributors to this volume investigate the visual art that emerged in Australia, China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Korea, Okinawa, and the Philippines. With their critical views and new approaches, the scholars and curators examine how visual art from postcolonial countries deviated from the communist/capitalist dichotomy to explore issues of identity, environment, rapid commercialization of art, and independence. These foci offer windows into some lesser-known aspects of the Cold War, including humanistic responses to the neo-imperial exploitations of people and resources as capitalism transformed into its most aggressive form.

Given its unique approach, this seminal study will be of great value to scholars of 20th-century East Asian and Southeast Asian art history and visual and cultural studies.

chapter |6 pages


Locating Asian art in the Cold War

part I|131 pages

Joining the game

chapter 2|35 pages

Before and beyond the Cold War

Visual accounts of the “Secret War” in Laos (Pha Khamfan’s collection of photographs and Terry Wofford’s paintings of planes)

chapter 4|26 pages

Asia’s Cold War and environmental devastation

Kidlat Tahimik and Roberto Villanueva’s neo-indigenous response in the Philippines and beyond

chapter 5|28 pages

Imagining a region

Australian exhibitionary turns to Asia in the late Cold War

part II|34 pages

Visual gallery and primary documents

chapter 6|6 pages

From Okinawa with Love

chapter 7|5 pages

Dinh Q Lê

Works and primary documents

chapter 8|8 pages

Reconfiguring history

chapter 9|6 pages

Voyage into the COLD SEA

chapter 10|7 pages

From cities into the mountains and the fields

An archaeology of lives in dark ruins

part III|59 pages

The continuous Cold War

chapter 11|21 pages

Survival tactics within Cold War ideologies

Post-Mao artists on the tides of globalization

chapter 13|20 pages

Undoing Cold War temporality

Transnational adoption in Agnès Dherbeys’s Omone and Retired