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Contemporary Chinese Art: A History


Wu Hung


The first substantial, fully authoritative textbook on contemporary Chinese art

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From its underground genesis during the Cultural Revolution, contemporary Chinese art has become a dynamic and hugely influential force in a globalized art world where the distinctions between Eastern and Western civilization are rapidly collapsing.

In this first systematic introduction to the topic, Wu Hang provides a much-needed narrative of the development of Chinese art across all media during a period of radical social, political and economic change in China.

This richly illustrated and easy-to-navigate chronological survey considers contemporary Chinese art both in the context of China’s specific historical experience and in the global arena.

Wu Hung explores:

• The emergence of avant-garde or contemporary art – as opposed to officially sanctioned art – in the public sphere after the Cultural Revolution

• The mobilization by young artists and critics of a nationwide avant-garde movement in the mid-1980s

• The re-emphasis on individual creativity in the late 1980s

• The heightened spirit of experimentation of the 1990s

• The catapulting of contemporary Chinese art into the global arena from the 1990s onwards.

The book introduces the reader to key art movements, styles and trends, important artists and art projects, experimental exhibitions and avant-garde publications, and China’s growing number of new museums, galleries and alternative art spaces.

Contemporary Chinese Art is an indispensable resource to one of the most vital and exciting areas of international art practice today.

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'A stunning publication that could well become a classic'
Burlington Magazine

Product Information

Book Details

Format: Hardback

Size: 29.7 x 23.0 cm

Extent: 456 pp

Illustrations: 425

Publication date: 15 September 2014

ISBN: 9780500239209

Contents List

Introduction • Part 1 1970s–1980s: 1. Beyond the Revolution; 2. 85 Art New Wave; 3. Rebirth of the Artist • Part 2 1990s: 4. A Contemporary Turn; 5. An Age of Experimentation: Return of the Real; 6. An Age of Experimentation: Redefining Chinese Art • Part 3 1990s–2000s: 7. Contemporary Chinese Art Beyond China; 8. Conversation With Tradition; 9. After Normalization • Conclusion

About the Author

Wu Hung is the Founder and Director of the Center for the Art of East Asia at the University of Chicago and the Harrie A. Vanderstappen Distinguished Service Professor in Chinese Art History at the Department of Art History and the Department of East Asian Studies and Civilizations at the same university.

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