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Art and China after 1989

Theater of the World

May 11, 2018 – September 23, 2018

Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World aims to contribute to the academic and public understanding of experimental art from 1989 to 2008, which was undoubtedly the most transformative period in the history of modern China and the recent world. It is the first study that presents an international interpretation of this work, framed within the geopolitical dynamics following the end of the Cold War, globalization. and the rise of China. The exhibition, organized by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, also analyzes the appearance of experimental art in China within a broader historical span as well as the global discourse on multiculturalism within the art world. By doing so, it seeks to transform an emerging and exclusively Sinocentric narrative on the development of art in China into a global world view, linking artistic practices during this time period with broader, multidisciplinary contexts as well as the cultural, intellectual, and historical changes that took place outside of China at the same time. This exhibition revolves around key artists, groups, and movements active in mainland China as well as internationally, whose visual and conceptual research reflects the concerns specific to artists during periods of reform: how to forge a reality free of ideology; how to establish individuality on the margin of collective politics, and how to define the contemporary Chinese experience in universal terms. The exhibition will provide a didactic and visually intricate historical narrative that will help to understand the cultural expressions and creative achievements of these critical witnesses to the rapid and unequal transformation of China in the political, social, and economic spheres.

Cocurators: Alexandra Munroe, Philip Tinari, Hou Hanru

Chen Shaoxiong
5 Hours, 1993/2006
DSL Collection. Performance view: The Third Artistic Event of the Big Tail Elephant Working Group, outside Red Ant Bar, Guangzhou, November 24, 1993
© Chen Shaoxiong
Photo : Cortesy of the artist