Review for the exhibition "A Book From the Sky" and "Ghosts Pounding the Wall" at the Elvehjem Museum of Art, University of Wisconsin-Madison, from Nov. 1991-Jan. 19, 1992.
"It is impossible to avoid the stereotypes and misconceptions of Western writers in the US who insist on saying negatives about all things Chinese. This article is an example of this and should be used only as such.
"'Futility' in the title carries its own message, reinforcing a standard Western criticism about Asia and China in particular.
"The first line sets up the text as, '...a personal vision of an imperfect country.'
"It disparages the Great Wall as in construction for eons yet failing in a purpose of their interpretation -- with no mention of 'Hsung-Nu' barbarian horse riders to the North who raided China and eventually sacked Rome through Central Europe.
"To denigrate a whole civilization as 'beating its head against the a wall' is a good signal when you are in the midst of a biased politics.
"Terms like 'pessimistic" and "negativism" in regard to China are also good earmarks/signals. Written around 1991 when Xu Bing came to US, this artist is now so highly regarded internationally and in the West, yet such viewpoints continue to find their way to press." --Robert Lee, Director, Asian American Arts Centre, 2008