Contemporary art always encompasses various disciplines. As art becomes a central part of mainstream culture in China and elsewhere, our plea is that it can contribute in a subcultural sense—not necessarily as the politically vigilant gadfly it was once imagined to be, but as a challenger of a new type. LEAP 33’s cover package “the Ends of Culture” stems from our observations on subculture. The premise is simple: rather than approaching art through cultural and conceptual matrices, we read it through its objects, artifacts, and images. In this cover package, we provide a cluster of keywords that act as a conduit towards the edge of the cultural imagination; like the catalysts and enzymes that encourage a system to grow from within, we hope to create the conditions for the creation, misinterpretation, disruption, and total collapse of an entire cognitive structure.

In addition to the cover feature’s 43 entries of subcultural keywords, this issue’s middle section includes the inaugural edition of LEAP Forum. LEAP Forum / Venice 2015: New Pavilions for a Global Asia brings together artists, curators, and other participants in projects across Venice—from the international exhibition to the national pavilions and collateral shows—to discuss and explore the rapidly changing state of Asian visual culture in the world today. Also featured are two in-depth artist profiles. Colin Siyuan Chinnery analyzes the ways artist Wang Yin incorporates Chinese avant-garde theater and modern culture into his paintings, drawing up a narrative of contemporary China’s cultural ideology and national memories. Matthew Shen Goodman offers an incisive account of recent Hugo Boss Prize winner Paul Chan’s practice, and his tongue-in-cheek attitude towards the art world.

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