A fantastic new bilingual wiki for contemp. Chinese art - Artspeak China. The easy interface organizes information by major artists, events, institutions and movements. Already, according to Shanghaiist, garnering tens of thousands of hits per day.
My first dally in - Rauschenberg's 1985 exhibit at the Beijing National Gallery - the first officially sanctioned American exhibit since the 30s. [[ Purchase Rauschenberg's piece, left, "China Tour, 1985" here.]] From the article:
"Author Zhang Zhaohui recalls: “The exhibition halls were crowded with people who felt refreshed by a totally new form of art that they did not quite yet understand. It served to excite young Chinese artists' enthusiasm to learn from him, and the show proved a stimulant to the nascent avant-gardemovement. Overnight, a number of Chinese artists began producing 'ready-mades' and installations, and hundreds of avant-garde art groups and experimental art exhibitions appeared.”The moment was a decisive game-changer for the direction of modern Chinese art. And there is likely no shortage of commentary on how Rauschenberg's ready-mades may have, to the bureaucrat charged with the thumbs-up or down, seemed like innocuous objects properly flaked off of the great stream of capitalist production slowly opening to the PRC. (Coded in there, too, I bet, is a sophisticated albeit unconscious theory of the political limits of irony.)
Further Reading I hope to wade through:
- SEMIOTIC WARFARE, by Martina Koppel Lang, covering the avante garde movements from '79-'89
- "The ROCI Road to Peace: Robert Rauschenberg, Perestroika, and the End of the Cold War." Pamela Kachurin in the Journal of Cold War Studies (!) Winter 2002 vol.4(1)