Stairway to Heaven: From Chinese Streets to Monuments and Skyscrapers

Stairway to Heaven: From Chinese Streets to Monuments and Skyscrapers

by Mark H. C. Bessire
     
 

In words and images, Stairway to Heaven explores contemporary urban space through the eyes of eighteen cutting-edge Chinese artists. Lavishly illustrated and full of insight, this gorgeous volume analyzes the unprecedented transformation of China’s cities.

Stairway to Heaven offers a unique opportunity and context within which to consider the great

Overview

In words and images, Stairway to Heaven explores contemporary urban space through the eyes of eighteen cutting-edge Chinese artists. Lavishly illustrated and full of insight, this gorgeous volume analyzes the unprecedented transformation of China’s cities.

Stairway to Heaven offers a unique opportunity and context within which to consider the great resurgence of art and culture in China. Today, Chinese culture bridges a range of emotions and conditions that are both complementary and contradictory, providing new generations with obstacles and opportunities stemming from newfound wealth, poverty, alienation, competition, and confusion. Inviting challenging questions and provocative insights, this book presents multiple artistic voices, strategies, and techniques as well as a subtext that explores an art world in which artists are digesting and processing an overload of cultural, philosophical, and technological changes.

In their accompanying essays — included in both English and Chinese — professors Gan Xu and Gu Zheng, both born during the Maoist period, mine the conflict, tragedy, and hypocrisy of mourning and celebrating, which seem to be common themes among the photographs included here. Curators of the Stairway to Heaven museum exhibit, Mark H. C. Bessire and Raechell Smith frame the project with expert observations about the role of Chinese art and artists, suggesting that today’s Chinese art will be recognized for its immense creativity, following after an incredibly controlled and fallow era of art making under Mao. After years of isolation, Chinese artists have emerged with the energy and creativity to place Chinese art at the forefront of a global art world in less than a generation.

Artists Included: Ai Weiwei, Chen Shaoxiong, Gu Wenda, Gu Zheng, Hong Lei, Liang Weiping, Liu Bolin, Lu Yuanmin, Luo Yongjin, Ma Liuming, Wang Jing, Weng Fen, Xing Danwen, Yang Yongliang, Yening, Zhang Dali, and Zhu Feng.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781584657286
Publisher:
University Press of New England
Publication date:
08/31/2009
Edition description:
Bilingual Edition
Pages:
148
Product dimensions:
9.00(w) x 9.90(h) x 0.60(d)

Meet the Author

MARK H. C. BESSIRE, formerly director of the Bates College Museum of Art, is now the director of Maine’s Portland Museum of Art. RAECHELL SMITH is the director of the H & R Block Artspace at the Kansas City Art Institute. GAN XU is a professor of art history at Maine College of Art. GU ZHENG is a professor of journalism and vice-director of the Research Center for Visual Culture, Fudan University, China.

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