Karen Smith is a Beijing-based British art historian. She graduated from Wimbledon Art School in 1987 and moved to Asia a year later. Smith settled in China in 1992 with the aim of engaging with an art scene that was then almost unknown beyond its national borders. Through diverse roles both in China and internationally as a writer, critic, and curator, today Smith is an internationally recognized authority on Chinese contemporary art. She is currently finishing a book entitled Bang to Boom: China’s New Art in the 1990s, due out in 2013.

Last Updated: April 3, 2014

My First Trip


The Alternative Route

Karen Smith
Twenty-one years after the fact, my efforts to reconstruct my first trip to China produce a confusion of impressions in which multiple images are fused together and refuse to be unraveled or separated. Having lived in China for nineteen of those...