Tingting Xu is a historian of Chinese art, with a focus on the cross-cultural and cross-media artistic practices of the Late Imperial period. She received her PhD from the Department of Art History at the University of Chicago in 2020. Her current book project, "Beyond Treaty Ports: Chinese Photography 1860–1916," explores photography’s dialogues with painting, drawing, ink rubbing, and print. It discusses the comparative visual formats, concepts, and artistic strategies between the East and West. Methodologically, she sees photographs not as photographs per se, but as images fertilized by genres, conventions, and functions that transcend both culture and media. Recently, she has been working on an Accordion Album Trilogy that consists of three papers discussing the artistic creativities associated with this format, in both ancient and modern contexts. During her doctoral studies, Tingting worked as an assistant curator at the Peabody Essex Museum, and initiated the reading group “Art History: New Scholarship” at the University of Chicago. Her writing has appeared (or is forthcoming) in History of Photography, Yishu, World 3, Photography and East Asian Art (edited volume), and the catalogue of the forthcoming exhibition Early Photography of China: Imagining Hybrid Worlds at the PEM (2022). Her research has received support and awards from the Social Science Research Council, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, the Field Museum, and multiple centers at the University of Chicago. When not engaged in academic work, Tingting plays Beethoven and Bach on the piano. The music takes her to a special place with refreshing sentiments and thoughts.
Tingting joins us as a Mellon Fellow in Art Humanities.