This article reviews two recent books on Chinese contemporary art, Sasha Welland's Experimental Beijing (2018) and Jenny Lin's Above Sea (2019), concerned with the sociopolitical contexts of the 1990s–2000s' globalizing Beijing and Shanghai respectively. By examining the two authors' respective methodologies—Welland's ethnographical field research and Lin's urban cultural research—, this article interprets how these two books shed light on the role of tensions in the intersectional global-local spaces of Chinese contemporary art. It argues that this field of art history necessitates the employment of non-art historical methodologies, as shown by the two books, in order to locate and make visible the intangible tensions hovering in the art's global-local spaces.

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