You are here

Thursday, November 18, 2010 - 19:30

A Photographic History of Shanghai

Karen Smith, Art Historian and Author

Greek Embassy Residence 


Xila Dashi Zhuzhai

19 Guanghua Lu


BIS events are open to foreign passport holders only.
All BIS events are off-the-record. Photography, filming and recording are not permitted.

Membership desk open 7:00 pm for 7:30 pm lecture,
no reservations necessary.
For inquiries on the day of the event, from 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm, please call 137 1767 2167.


Shanghai: A History in Photographs 1842-Today will be available for purchase at this lecture (310 rmb paperback, 580 rmb hardcover).



The end of the Opium war in 1842 effected a dramatic transformation on China's coast, turning the sleepy backwater of Shanghai into a bustling treaty port. Over the intervening 160 years, Shanghai has been shaped by outside forces: foreign concessions, the Japanese invasion, the arrival of the Communists and the cult of Mao—all playing their part in sculpting today's cosmopolis.

Karen Smith's recent book, Shanghai: A History in Photographs 1842-Today, tells the story of modern China as witnessed by this romantic city through evocative, beautiful and sometimes painful images. Karen will present her compelling photographic history, told through rare official archive photographs, images taken from private collections, new commissions and co-author Liu Heung Shing's own work.

Karen Smith is a Beijing-based British art historian specializing in contemporary Chinese art in the post-Mao era. She is the author of Ai Weiwei (Phaidon, 2009) and Nine Lives: The Birth of Avant-Garde Art in New China (Scalo, 2006). She was a contributing author for China, Portrait of a Country (Taschen, 2008), and is currently finishing her forthcoming book, Bang to Boom: Chinese Art in the 1990s.