Art and China After 1989: Theater of The World




Why 1989? Tiananmen Square! This is art with a message – a political message. Experimental film, videos, paintings, and installations by Ai Weiwei and other Chinese artists of today. Hanging across the entire atrium is a contemporary take on the traditional Chinese dragon used in dragon dances on the Chinese new year… with bicycles instead of the dragon’s head. 20171021_111227 Notably missing is a video of two chained dogs lunging at each other, removed from the show because of protests. Don’t ask me to explain it all – conceptual art benefits by an explanation (and a guide.) But the overall impression is of a country that plays on a world stage. Just as the Beijing Olympics was such a statement. And the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, going on now.

Ken Roman


2 Responses to “Art and China After 1989: Theater of The World”

  1. Ken, I showed your review to Dale who was collecting this material from artists in China from 1999 – 2013. She thought the curatorial choices were interesting and was disturbed that the Guggenheim caved to pressure and removed some of the material from the show. In her mind, the best show of this material was done by the Asia Society & ICP ten years ago. It was quite a time to be collecting the work of skilled artists who had something to really say as their world had changed.

  2. Doug – I agree with Dale on caving in to pressure. I was reporting, not commenting. My views are unschooled compared to hers. I was reacting to the totality of the show, much as we did to “Art Afrique” at the Vuitton this summer — an art scene we had never seen from these countries.

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