Contemporary Chinese Art: Primary Documents

Contemporary Chinese Art: Primary Documents


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Despite the liveliness and creativity of avant-garde Chinese art in the post-Mao era and its prominence in the world of international contemporary art, until now there has been no systematic introduction to this important work in any Western language. Moreover, most of the relevant primary documents have existed only in Chinese, scattered in hard-to-find publications. Contemporary Chinese Art remedies this situation by bringing together carefully selected primary texts in English translation. Arranged in chronological order, the texts guide readers through the development of avant-garde Chinese art from 1976 until 2006. Because experimental Chinese art emerged as a domestic phenomenon in the 1970s and 1980s and its subsequent development has been closely related to China’s social and economical transformation, this volume focuses on art from mainland China. At the same time, it encompasses the activities of mainland artists residing overseas, since artists who emigrated in the 1980s and 1990s were often key participants in the early avant-garde movements and have continued to interact with the mainland art world. The primary documents include the manifestos of avant-garde groups, prefaces to important exhibitions, writings by representative artists, important critical and analytical essays, and even some official documents. Each chapter and section begins with a concise preface explaining the significance of the texts and providing the necessary historical background; the volume includes a timeline summarizing important art phenomena and related political events.

Publication of the Museum of Modern Art

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780822349433
Publisher: Duke University Press Books
Publication date: 09/01/2010
Series: MoMA Primary Documents Series
Pages: 464
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.70(h) x 1.70(d)

About the Author

Wu Hung is the Harrie A. Vanderstappen Distinguished Service Professor in Art History and East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Director of the Center for the Art of East Asia and Consulting Curator at the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago. His many books include Remaking Beijing: Tiananmen Square and the Creation of a Political Space, Transience: Chinese Experimental Art at the End of the Twentieth Century, and (with Christopher Phillips) Between Past and Future: New Photography and Video from China. He has curated many international exhibitions of Chinese art.

Peggy Wang is Assistant Professor of Art History at Denison University.

Table of Contents

Part One: Contemporary Art as Domestic Movement, 1976–89
I. The Beginning of Contemporary Art: 1979–84
Unofficial Art Groups and Exhibitions
Preface to the First Nature, Society, and Man Exhibition (Ziran, shehui, ren) (1979) / Wang Zhiping
Preface to the First Stars Art Exhibition (Xingxing meizhan) (1979) / Huang Rui
A Letter to the People (1979) / Xu Wenli, Liu Qing, et al
About the Stars Art Exhibition (1980) / Li Xianting
A Debate on "Formal Beauty" and Other Issues
Formalist Aesthetics in Painting (1979) / Wu Guanzhong
Emotion Individuality, Formal Aesthetics (1979) / Liu Shaohui
New Directions in Realist Painting
Scar Art
Some Thoughts on Creating the Picture-Story Book Maple (Feng) (1980) / Chen Yiming, Liu Yulian, and Li Bin
Man's Rational Meditation: A Brief Discussion of Cheng Conglin's Thematic Oil Paintings (1970s/1994) / Deng Pingxiang
Native Soil Art
A Letter from the Artist of Father (Fuqin) (1981) / Lui Zhongli
My Seven Paintings (1981) / Chen Danqing
Melancholy Youth and "Contemplative Painting"
Expecting Her to Walk on the Main Road (1981) / Wang Chuan
"Contemplative Painting" in China and Andrew Wyeth (1985) / Ruan Xudong
II. The Arrival of an Avant-Garde Movement: 1985–86
Political and Intellectual Contexts
Enlightenment of a New Era: On In the New Era (Zai xinshidai) (1985) / Zhang Qun and Meng Luding
Pioneers of Contemporary Chinese Art—A Critique of the Progressive Young Chinese Artists Exhibition (1985) / Zhao Jinghaun
Beijing Theorists' Reaction to the Art of Robert Rauschenberg (1985) / Zhu Ye
Foreword to Fine Arts in China (1985)
Appendix. A Nationwide Forum and Model: Art Magazines and Symposia (2003) / Martina Koppel-Yang
'85 Art New Wave
General Discussions
The '85 Art Movement (1986) / Gao Minglu
The Significance is Not the Art (1986) / Li Jiatun
A Summary of Evaluations of the '85 Arts Movement (1986) / Gao Minglu
Appendix. The Landscape of China's Modern Art Movment (1991) / Tong Dian
Writings by Members of Selected Art Groups
We—Participants of the "'85 Art Movement" (1986) / Wang Guangyi
An Explanation of the Northern Art Group (1987) / Shu Qun
On New Space and the Pond Society (1987) / Shi Jiu
New Figurative: Manifestation and Transcendence in Figurative Patterns of Life (1987) / Mao Xuhui
Red Brigade Precept (1987) / Ding Fang
Statement on Burning (1986) / Huang Yong Ping
Introduction to The Events Exhibition that Took Place at the Exhibition Hall of the Fujian Art Museum (1986) / Huang Yong Ping
Toward a Physical State of Contemporary Art Itself (1986) / Wang Du
III. From Collectivity to Individual Creativity: 1987—89
Rethinking the Movement
Returning to Art Itself (1988) / Jia Fangzhou
Rethinking Art
Purifying Artistic Language
A Few Thoughts (1988) / Zhu Zude and Liu Zhenggang
Absurdity and Irrationality
Non-Expressive Paintings (1986) / Huang Yong Ping
Art as Process
Looking for Something Different in a Quiet Place (1989) / Xu Bing
Regarding "Analysis" (1989) / Chen Shaoping
Challenging Modernism—An Interview with Wenda Gu (1986) / Fei Dawei
Against the Public
The Point of Departure for Art Project No. 2 (Yishu jihua di er hao) (1988/2007) / Zhang Peili
The China/Avant-Garde Exhibition
The Exhibition
Background Material on the China/Avant-Garde Exhibition (1989) / Zhou Yan
Confessions of a China/Avant-Garde Curator (1989) / Li Xianting
A Brief Account of China/Avant-Garde (1989) / Hang Jian and Cao Xiao'ou
The "End" of the New Wave
Facing the End of the New Wave: An Interview with Fine Arts in China (1989) / Peng De
The Modernist Dilemma and Our Options (1989) / Yi Ying
Part Two: Globalization and a Domestic Turn, 1990–2000
I. Intrinsic Perspectives
Artistic Trends in the Early 1990s (1990–93)
New Generation and Close Up Artists (1992) / Yin Jinan
Apathy and Deconstruction in Post-'89 Art: Analyzing the Trends of "Cynical Realism" and "Political Pop" (1992) / Li Xianting
Appendix. The Misread Great Criticism (Da pipan) (2008) / Huang Zhuan
Tendencies in Chinese Pop (1996) / Gu Chengfeng
A Survey of Contemporary Chinese Performance Art (1999) / Gao Ling
Major Trends in Contemporary Chinese Art of the Mid- to Late 1990s
Identity and Experience
A Personal Account of 65 Kg (1994/2000) / Zhang Huan
Four Notes (1994) / Ma Liuming
The Boundary of Freedom: A Personal Statement on Assignment No. 1 (Zuoye yihao) (1994/2000) / Qiu Zhijie
Report from the Artist's Studio (1996) / Interview with Zhang Xiaogang by Huang Zhuan
Preface to It's Me! (Shi wo!) (1998/2000) / Leng Lin
Feminism and Women's Art
Walking Out of the Abyss: My Feminist Critique (1994) / Xu Hong
Toward a Female Initiative (1996/2003) / Tao Yongbai
Wrapping and Severing (1997) / Lin Tianmiao
Clothes Chest (Yixiang) (1995) / Yin Xiuzhen
Engagement with Social Transformation
Gaudy Art
Living in Kitsch—The Critical "Irony" of Gaudy Art (1999) / Liao Wen
Urban Destruction and Construction
"Changchun, China": A Report on a Performance of Making Rubbings from Buildings Slated for Demolition (1994) / Huang Yan
"94 Action Plan for Debris Salvage Schemes for Implementation and Results (1994) / Zhan Wang
New Map of Beijing: Today and Tomorrow's Capital—Rockery Remolding Plan (1995) / Zhan Wang
One Hour Game (Youxi yi Xiaoshi) (1996/1997) / Liang Juhui
Report on Zhang Dali's Dialogue (Duihua) (1998) / Jiang Tao
A Dialogue on Dialogue (200) / Gou Hongbing with Zhang Dali
Sociality in Contemporary Art
State of Existence (1994) / Zhu Fadong
12 Square Meters (12 pingfang mi) (1994) / Zhang Huan
Ice '96 Central Plains (Bing: 96 Zhongyuan) (1996/2000) / Wang Jin
On Painted Sculptures (1995/1997) / Liu Jianhua
Standard Family (Biaozhun jiating) (1996/1997) / Wang Jinsong
Why do I want to photograph the streets of Guangzhou? (2002) / Chen Shaoxiong
Experimental Photography and Video Art
Trends and States of Photography's Development in Mainland China since 1976 (1994) / Li Mei and Yang Xiaoyan
Appendix. Zero to Infinity:

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