• Contemporary Chinese Art: Primary Documents

    Editor(s):  Wu Hung, Peggy Wang
    Pages: 464
    Illustrations: 129 illustrations, incl. 50 in color
    Sales/Territorial Rights: World
    Series: MoMA Primary Documents
  • Paperback: $40.00 - Not In Stock
    978-0-8223-4943-3
  • Part One: Contemporary Art as Domestic Movement, 1976–89
    I. The Beginning of Contemporary Art: 1979–84
    Introduction
    Unofficial Art Groups and Exhibitions
    Preface to the First Nature, Society, and Man Exhibition (Ziran, shehui, ren) (1979) / Wang Zhiping
    Preface to the First Stars Art Exhibition (Xingxing meizhan) (1979) / Huang Rui
    A Letter to the People (1979) / Xu Wenli, Liu Qing, et al
    About the Stars Art Exhibition (1980) / Li Xianting
    A Debate on "Formal Beauty" and Other Issues
    Formalist Aesthetics in Painting (1979) / Wu Guanzhong
    Emotion Individuality, Formal Aesthetics (1979) / Liu Shaohui
    New Directions in Realist Painting
    Scar Art
    Some Thoughts on Creating the Picture-Story Book Maple (Feng) (1980) / Chen Yiming, Liu Yulian, and Li Bin
    Man's Rational Meditation: A Brief Discussion of Cheng Conglin's Thematic Oil Paintings (1970s/1994) / Deng Pingxiang
    Native Soil Art
    A Letter from the Artist of Father (Fuqin) (1981) / Lui Zhongli
    My Seven Paintings (1981) / Chen Danqing
    Melancholy Youth and "Contemplative Painting"
    Expecting Her to Walk on the Main Road (1981) / Wang Chuan
    "Contemplative Painting" in China and Andrew Wyeth (1985) / Ruan Xudong
    II. The Arrival of an Avant-Garde Movement: 1985–86
    Political and Intellectual Contexts
    Enlightenment of a New Era: On In the New Era (Zai xinshidai) (1985) / Zhang Qun and Meng Luding
    Pioneers of Contemporary Chinese Art—A Critique of the Progressive Young Chinese Artists Exhibition (1985) / Zhao Jinghaun
    Beijing Theorists' Reaction to the Art of Robert Rauschenberg (1985) / Zhu Ye
    Foreword to Fine Arts in China (1985)
    Appendix. A Nationwide Forum and Model: Art Magazines and Symposia (2003) / Martina Koppel-Yang
    '85 Art New Wave
    General Discussions
    The '85 Art Movement (1986) / Gao Minglu
    The Significance is Not the Art (1986) / Li Jiatun
    A Summary of Evaluations of the '85 Arts Movement (1986) / Gao Minglu
    Appendix. The Landscape of China's Modern Art Movment (1991) / Tong Dian
    Writings by Members of Selected Art Groups
    We—Participants of the "'85 Art Movement" (1986) / Wang Guangyi
    An Explanation of the Northern Art Group (1987) / Shu Qun
    On New Space and the Pond Society (1987) / Shi Jiu
    New Figurative: Manifestation and Transcendence in Figurative Patterns of Life (1987) / Mao Xuhui
    Red Brigade Precept (1987) / Ding Fang
    Statement on Burning (1986) / Huang Yong Ping
    Introduction to The Events Exhibition that Took Place at the Exhibition Hall of the Fujian Art Museum (1986) / Huang Yong Ping
    Toward a Physical State of Contemporary Art Itself (1986) / Wang Du
    III. From Collectivity to Individual Creativity: 1987—89
    Rethinking the Movement
    Returning to Art Itself (1988) / Jia Fangzhou
    Rethinking Art
    Purifying Artistic Language
    A Few Thoughts (1988) / Zhu Zude and Liu Zhenggang
    Absurdity and Irrationality
    Non-Expressive Paintings (1986) / Huang Yong Ping
    Art as Process
    Looking for Something Different in a Quiet Place (1989) / Xu Bing
    Regarding "Analysis" (1989) / Chen Shaoping
    Challenging Modernism—An Interview with Wenda Gu (1986) / Fei Dawei
    Against the Public
    The Point of Departure for Art Project No. 2 (Yishu jihua di er hao) (1988/2007) / Zhang Peili
    The China/Avant-Garde Exhibition
    The Exhibition
    Background Material on the China/Avant-Garde Exhibition (1989) / Zhou Yan
    Confessions of a China/Avant-Garde Curator (1989) / Li Xianting
    A Brief Account of China/Avant-Garde (1989) / Hang Jian and Cao Xiao'ou
    The "End" of the New Wave
    Facing the End of the New Wave: An Interview with Fine Arts in China (1989) / Peng De
    The Modernist Dilemma and Our Options (1989) / Yi Ying
    Part Two: Globalization and a Domestic Turn, 1990–2000
    I. Intrinsic Perspectives
    Artistic Trends in the Early 1990s (1990–93)
    New Generation and Close Up Artists (1992) / Yin Jinan
    Apathy and Deconstruction in Post-'89 Art: Analyzing the Trends of "Cynical Realism" and "Political Pop" (1992) / Li Xianting
    Appendix. The Misread Great Criticism (Da pipan) (2008) / Huang Zhuan
    Tendencies in Chinese Pop (1996) / Gu Chengfeng
    A Survey of Contemporary Chinese Performance Art (1999) / Gao Ling
    Major Trends in Contemporary Chinese Art of the Mid- to Late 1990s
    Identity and Experience
    Self
    A Personal Account of 65 Kg (1994/2000) / Zhang Huan
    Four Notes (1994) / Ma Liuming
    The Boundary of Freedom: A Personal Statement on Assignment No. 1 (Zuoye yihao) (1994/2000) / Qiu Zhijie
    Report from the Artist's Studio (1996) / Interview with Zhang Xiaogang by Huang Zhuan
    Preface to It's Me! (Shi wo!) (1998/2000) / Leng Lin
    Feminism and Women's Art
    Walking Out of the Abyss: My Feminist Critique (1994) / Xu Hong
    Toward a Female Initiative (1996/2003) / Tao Yongbai
    Wrapping and Severing (1997) / Lin Tianmiao
    Clothes Chest (Yixiang) (1995) / Yin Xiuzhen
    Engagement with Social Transformation
    Gaudy Art
    Living in Kitsch—The Critical "Irony" of Gaudy Art (1999) / Liao Wen
    Urban Destruction and Construction
    "Changchun, China": A Report on a Performance of Making Rubbings from Buildings Slated for Demolition (1994) / Huang Yan
    "94 Action Plan for Debris Salvage Schemes for Implementation and Results (1994) / Zhan Wang
    New Map of Beijing: Today and Tomorrow's Capital—Rockery Remolding Plan (1995) / Zhan Wang
    One Hour Game (Youxi yi Xiaoshi) (1996/1997) / Liang Juhui
    Report on Zhang Dali's Dialogue (Duihua) (1998) / Jiang Tao
    A Dialogue on Dialogue (200) / Gou Hongbing with Zhang Dali
    Sociality in Contemporary Art
    State of Existence (1994) / Zhu Fadong
    12 Square Meters (12 pingfang mi) (1994) / Zhang Huan
    Ice '96 Central Plains (Bing: 96 Zhongyuan) (1996/2000) / Wang Jin
    On Painted Sculptures (1995/1997) / Liu Jianhua
    Standard Family (Biaozhun jiating) (1996/1997) / Wang Jinsong
    Why do I want to photograph the streets of Guangzhou? (2002) / Chen Shaoxiong
    Experimental Photography and Video Art
    Photography
    Trends and States of Photography's Development in Mainland China since 1976 (1994) / Li Mei and Yang Xiaoyan
    Appendix. Zero to Infinity:
  • Honorable Mention in the Art History and Criticism category, 2010 PROSE Awards (The American Publishers Awards for Professional and Scholarly Excellence)

  • “One of the delights, then, of exploring this collection is that of becoming privy to just how divergent were the views, how passionate the motives and how discerning the analyses by Chinese artists processing events in their world as they were happening. Wu Hung thus invites the reader to view the continuing search for new paradigms, for new language, through a window not yet beclouded by retrospection or devolution into simple explanations—we need no longer be hostage to a jumble of critical commentaries strewn across art journals or selectively sheltered in exhibition catalogs, but instead are empowered to construct more complex and holistic understandings.”

    “This book . . . serves a major function in bringing this material together and to the attention of the international art world. Furthermore, additional documents are constantly being added at the project’s Web site www.moma.org/chineseprimarydoc. . . . This book is refreshing primarily because of its subject matter, but also because it’s organized and written in a lucid and markedly open-minded manner.”

    “Wu Hung . . . along with Peggy Wang . . . has done an incredible service to the field of English language contemporary art history and translation publishing this fact filled book documenting the rise of Chinese art post Cultural Revolution.“

    “[D]estined to become a key sourcebook on mainland Chinese artists. . . . [R]eaders not fluent in Chinese can revel in 35 years’ wroth of texts and information never before available to them.”

    “Edited by Wu and Wang, this is the first sourcebook and anthology to systematically collect and translate into English principal documents on contemporary Chinese art that are scattered in hard-to-find Chinese publications. This volume provides students and scholars in the Western world with invaluable access to firsthand textual materials for studying and researching contemporary Chinese art. . . . Essential.”

    “Perhaps the most useful guide to China’s multilayered modern art worlds can be found in the careful source book Contemporary Chinese Art: Primary Documents by the University of Chicago professor and curator Wu Hung. In this detailed synopsis and catalog Wu succeeds in creating a broad series of definitions we can use to bring order to our own thoughts and to any recent Chinese works we may encounter.”

    “Recognized as one of the foremost authorities in both ancient and contemporary Chinese art, Wu Hung has served as a consultant on some of the most highly acclaimed exhibitions of current Chinese art to tour the United States.”

    “Respected on both sides of the Pacific . . . [Wu Hung] has helped introduce Chinese avant-garde art to the West.”

    Awards

  • Honorable Mention in the Art History and Criticism category, 2010 PROSE Awards (The American Publishers Awards for Professional and Scholarly Excellence)

  • Reviews

  • “One of the delights, then, of exploring this collection is that of becoming privy to just how divergent were the views, how passionate the motives and how discerning the analyses by Chinese artists processing events in their world as they were happening. Wu Hung thus invites the reader to view the continuing search for new paradigms, for new language, through a window not yet beclouded by retrospection or devolution into simple explanations—we need no longer be hostage to a jumble of critical commentaries strewn across art journals or selectively sheltered in exhibition catalogs, but instead are empowered to construct more complex and holistic understandings.”

    “This book . . . serves a major function in bringing this material together and to the attention of the international art world. Furthermore, additional documents are constantly being added at the project’s Web site www.moma.org/chineseprimarydoc. . . . This book is refreshing primarily because of its subject matter, but also because it’s organized and written in a lucid and markedly open-minded manner.”

    “Wu Hung . . . along with Peggy Wang . . . has done an incredible service to the field of English language contemporary art history and translation publishing this fact filled book documenting the rise of Chinese art post Cultural Revolution.“

    “[D]estined to become a key sourcebook on mainland Chinese artists. . . . [R]eaders not fluent in Chinese can revel in 35 years’ wroth of texts and information never before available to them.”

    “Edited by Wu and Wang, this is the first sourcebook and anthology to systematically collect and translate into English principal documents on contemporary Chinese art that are scattered in hard-to-find Chinese publications. This volume provides students and scholars in the Western world with invaluable access to firsthand textual materials for studying and researching contemporary Chinese art. . . . Essential.”

    “Perhaps the most useful guide to China’s multilayered modern art worlds can be found in the careful source book Contemporary Chinese Art: Primary Documents by the University of Chicago professor and curator Wu Hung. In this detailed synopsis and catalog Wu succeeds in creating a broad series of definitions we can use to bring order to our own thoughts and to any recent Chinese works we may encounter.”

    “Recognized as one of the foremost authorities in both ancient and contemporary Chinese art, Wu Hung has served as a consultant on some of the most highly acclaimed exhibitions of current Chinese art to tour the United States.”

    “Respected on both sides of the Pacific . . . [Wu Hung] has helped introduce Chinese avant-garde art to the West.”

  • “Chinese contemporary art is the darling of the international art market today, but two decades ago who would have imagined this sudden phenomenon? And, what were the participants thinking? This indispensable reader shows us through selected writings from 1979 to 2000 by many of those who made it happen: the artists, the critics and theorists, the curators, the art historians. Even the table of contents imposes a sense of order on this complex art movement, and what follows will enlighten anyone who studies, buys, or simply looks at the Chinese art of our time.” — Jerome Silbergeld, P.Y. & Kinmay W. Tang Professor of Chinese Art History; Director, Tang Center for East Asian Art, Princeton University

    “This volume is an invaluable resource for anyone seeking to understand contemporary Chinese art, one of the most fascinating art scenes of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. The documents are judiciously chosen, translated, and categorized, while an extensive historical chronicle and introductions provide accessible contextual information.” — David Joselit, Carnegie Professor, History of Art, Yale University

    “Wu Hung’s ingeniously selected montage of texts and images gives the reader an invaluable overview of Chinese art between 1976 and 2006. It can be savored on its own, or taken as a primer to read alongside the more widely available analyses of recent Chinese history and politics.” — Jonathan Spence, author of, The Search for Modern China

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  • Description

    Despite the liveliness and creativity of avant-garde Chinese art in the post-Mao era and its prominence in the world of international contemporary art, until now there has been no systematic introduction to this important work in any Western language. Moreover, most of the relevant primary documents have existed only in Chinese, scattered in hard-to-find publications. Contemporary Chinese Art remedies this situation by bringing together carefully selected primary texts in English translation. Arranged in chronological order, the texts guide readers through the development of avant-garde Chinese art from 1976 until 2006. Because experimental Chinese art emerged as a domestic phenomenon in the 1970s and 1980s and its subsequent development has been closely related to China’s social and economical transformation, this volume focuses on art from mainland China. At the same time, it encompasses the activities of mainland artists residing overseas, since artists who emigrated in the 1980s and 1990s were often key participants in the early avant-garde movements and have continued to interact with the mainland art world. The primary documents include the manifestos of avant-garde groups, prefaces to important exhibitions, writings by representative artists, important critical and analytical essays, and even some official documents. Each chapter and section begins with a concise preface explaining the significance of the texts and providing the necessary historical background; the volume includes a timeline summarizing important art phenomena and related political events.

    Publication of the Museum of Modern Art

    About The Author(s)

    Wu Hung is the Harrie A. Vanderstappen Distinguished Service Professor in Art History and East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Director of the Center for the Art of East Asia and Consulting Curator at the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago. His many books include Remaking Beijing: Tiananmen Square and the Creation of a Political Space, Transience: Chinese Experimental Art at the End of the Twentieth Century, and (with Christopher Phillips) Between Past and Future: New Photography and Video from China. He has curated many international exhibitions of Chinese art.

    Peggy Wang is Assistant Professor of Art History at Denison University.

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