Summer Abroad in China

Terracotta Warriors in Xi'an

This three-week studio intensive explores the cultural, political, and intellectual capitols of China, focusing on the urban landscape of Beijing and Xi’an as a research subject.

China: Rendition, Veracity, and Deceit

Cultural Studies and Studio Intensive in Beijing and Xi’an China

July 22-August 9, 2013

Instructors: Christopher Loomis with Judy Wu

Information Sessions

Monday, March 11, 3:15–3:45 p.m.
Oakland campus, B Building 1

Thursday, March 14, 3:15–3:45 p.m.
San Francisco campus, West 2

Interested students should contact the instructor, Chris Loomis, to start the approval process for registration.


Students experience the two cities of Beijing and Xi'an through a series of field explorations, artists’ studio visits, and linguistic exercises. The course encourages students to study contemporary Chinese art and culture through a lens that is polished with extreme capitalism, multicultural energy, and a cutting edge art scene that collide with centuries’ old traditions.

Our main thematic focus resides in the ideas of rendition, veracity, and deceit. China has a complex cultural system where truth is often stranger than fiction and the reality of average Chinese citizens is often obscured by a veneer of prosperity. Our goal is to unpack these complexities and relate them to our own studio experience.

The course is divided into three parts along with lectures

  • Art now: contemporary art and art market in China;
  • Historical placement: villages within the city, the new China and the old;
  • The rendition of culture and language: examining how China views themselves in relation to the world through a series of class-generated linguistic exercises

Field explorations include

  • Art Zone: 798, the well established Art district of Beijing that houses a thriving artistic community among 50-year old decommissioned military factory buildings of unique architectural style.
  • The Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China, built in the 14th century. This section of the great wall demonstrates the beauty and ambition of China’s largest architectural structure.
  • Beijing and Xi’an’s Cheng-zhong-cun, or “villages within a city,” a unique phenomenon that formed part of China’s urbanization efforts. The villages appear on both the outskirts and the downtown segments of major cities.
  • Forbidden City and Palace Museum, which housed many emperors throughout the dynasties. The once grand palace is now a great resource for history, art, and architecture.
  • The Terracotta Warriors and Horses in Xi’an: over 1000 terracotta pieces in the tomb of the Qin Emperor. These figures, dating from 3rd century BC, were discovered by local farmers in 1974. Each of the figures were made unique in terms of height, facial expression, and armed with various armories.

Each week students have three days of studio time with lectures and four days of explorations, including scheduled excursions and personal time. The class includes a series of scheduled artists’ studio visits as well as unscheduled adventures to newly established art spaces. Two mornings per week, students take Mandarin classes with a Chinese instructor to further explore the idea of rendition, veracity, and deceit implicit in language and culture.

About the Instructors

Christopher Loomis is a furniture maker and artist whose studio specializes in heirloom quality furniture, sculpture, and home accessories that blur the lines between art, craft, function, and form. His work has been exhibited widely in such venues as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and the Museum of Craft and Design. Loomis has collaborated on projects with leading designers and artists in England, Japan, and Indonesia. In 2012 he served as a guest professor at Beijing’s Central Academy of Fine Arts. Loomis currently teaches in the Furniture and First Year Program at CCA. BFA School of the Art Institute Chicago; MFA, CCA


Judy Wu is an artist and teacher, born and raised in Taipei. Her research and career focuses on bridging different cultures and value systems into art, music, and language learning. Wu immigrated to the United States in 2000 and received degrees in art and anthropology at Hunter College in New York. She moved to California in 2006 and is currently a faculty in World Language Department at Head Royce School in Oakland. MFA, CCA


Undergraduates: completion of sophomore level by summer 2013 and instructor approval
Graduates: instructor approval

In addition students must be in good academic, conduct, and financial standing for the 2012-13 academic year.

Course Satisfies

For undergraduates, this course satisfies a studio elective, Upper Division Interdisciplinary Studio, or Diversity Studies Studio (pending approval).

For graduates, this course satisfies a gradwide elective.

Program Fee

$4,650 + $50 registration fee

Program fee includes
3 units, housing, a few meals, local transportation, guest artists, field trips, entrance fees, and travel/health insurance (see insurance)

Program fee does not include
Airfare to and from China, most meals

Please make sure you read the related pages in their entirety:

Financial Aid
Passport, Visa, and Insurance
Code of Conduct

Note: Passport and Visa required for travel to China. Make sure you start this process right away.

In-person registration begins on Friday, March 1, for all Summer Study Abroad courses. Students should register no later than Monday, March 25. If spots are available in the course after this date, students may still register as long as accommodations have not been finalized.

All CCA Summer Study Abroad courses (including the New Mexico, New York, and Texas Studios) are coordinated by the Office of Special Programs.


Office of Special Programs
Oakland campus, Ralls 201

Nina Sadek
Dean of Special Programs

Carol Pitts
Operations Manager, Special Programs