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Observations on Chinese Contemporary Art – Thinking and Practice

Colloquium: Center for Chinese Studies | January 30 | 4-5:30 p.m. |  Institute of East Asian Studies (2223 Fulton, 6th Floor)

Professor Xu Weixin, Dean, Department of Art, People's University (Renmin daxue)

Center for Chinese Studies (CCS)

Chinese Contemporary Art takes special interest in those artistic phenomena imbued with the spirit of folk art or marginalized art, in contrast to official (i.e., state-sponsored) art forms in China. We can date the start of contemporary art to 1978, the year when China first began its reforms; with its opening up to the world, Chinese contemporary art was shaped by the concepts underlying modern Western art, even as it retained Chinese characteristics. This new focus inevitably meant some departures, even confrontations with the so-called mainstream art, in both form and the content. The past thirty years of development in China have wrought tremendous changes to both the social environment and the economy, with the result that Chinese Contemporary Art has changed greatly over time as well. Evolving trends in China have much to teach us about China's place in the world and sense of itself. Illustrated by more than 100 slides, the lecture gives a concise introduction to the processes of generation and development with respect to these artistic phenomena. The talk will begin with a comparison of the classic works in Chinese and Western art history and end with a review of the speaker's own artistic practices and concerns., 510-643-6321