Art and China’s Revolutionby Melissa Chiu
Although numerous books on the Cultural Revolution have been published, they do not analyze the profound shift in aesthetic values that occurred in China after the Communists took power. This fascinating book is the first to focus on artwork produced from the 1950s to the 1970s, when Mao Zedong was in leadership, and argues that important contributions were made during this period that require fuller consideration in Chinese art history, especially with relevance to the contemporary world. Previously, historians have tended to dismiss the art of the Cultural Revolution as pure propaganda. The authors of this volume (historians, art historians, and artists) argue that while much art produced during this time was infused with politics, and individual creativity and displays of free thought were sometimes stifled and even punished, it is short sighted to overlook the aesthetic sophistication, diversity, and accessibility of much of the imagery. Bringing together more than 200 extraordinary artworks, including oil paintings, ink scroll paintings, artist sketchbooks, posters, and objects from daily life, as well as primary documentation that has not been published outside of China or seen since the mid-20th century, this invaluable volume sheds new light on one of the most controversial and critical periods in history. (Asia Society/Yale, 2008, 280pp, 9 x 12 1/2″, 50 b/w + 150 color illus)
About the Author
Dr. Melissa Chiu was previously Director of the Asia Society Museum and Senior Vice President for its Global Arts and Cultural Programs. She is a leading authority on Asian contemporary art. Dr. Chiu has curated nearly thirty exhibitions of international art including projects with Shirin Neshat, Cai Guo-Qiang, Zhang Huan and Yoshitomo Nara. Her scholarly contributions include editor, Asian contemporary art and Asian American art chapters for Oxford Art Online, and is the author and editor of several books, monographs, and anthologies, such as “Breakout: Chinese Art Outside China” (Charta); the first-ever introductory books on the topic of Asian contemporary art, Asian Art Now” ( Monacelli Press),“Contemporary Asian Art” (Thames and Hudson) and an anthology of collected writings “Contemporary Art in Asia: A Critical Reader” (MIT Press).