Paper $39.00 ISBN: 9781780232690 Published September 2014 For sale in North and South America only

Contemporary Chinese Art

A Critical History

Paul Gladston

Paul Gladston

Distributed for Reaktion Books

318 pages | 100 color plates, 50 halftones | 7 1/2 x 9 4/5 | © 2014
Paper $39.00 ISBN: 9781780232690 Published September 2014 For sale in North and South America only
Since the confirmation of Deng Xiaoping’s policy of Opening and Reform in 1978, the People’s Republic of China has undergone a liberalization of culture that has led to the production of numerous forms of avant-garde, experimental, and museum-based art. With a fast-growing international market and a thriving artistic community, contemporary Chinese art is riding a wave of prosperity, though issues of censorship still abound. Shedding light on the current art scene, Paul Gladston’s Contemporary Chinese Art puts China’s recent artistic output into the context of the wider cultural, economic, and political conditions that surround it.
Providing a critical mapping of ideas and practices that have shaped the development of Chinese art, Gladston shows how these combine to bind it to the structure of power and state both within and outside of China. Focusing principally on art produced by artists from mainland China—including painting, film, video, photography, and performance—he also discusses art created in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, and diasporic communities. Illustrated with 150 images, Contemporary Chinese Art unravels the complexities of politics, artistic practice, and culture in play in China’s art scene.
Wang Chunchen, Central Academy of Fine Arts
Contemporary Chinese Art is an emerging field for academic research and writing. Although much has already been written on the subject particularly in non-academic contexts, there is a need for more searching scholarly analysis and the construction of related critical discourses. Gladston’s book provides a vividly critical account of contemporary Chinese art’s development over the last four decades while situating it carefully in relation to its wider socio-political contexts. Gladston discusses key events in the overall history of modern and contemporary Chinese art based on five years of research in China. He also signposts important possibilities for the further development of contemporary Chinese art. This is a vital book for future excursions in the field of contemporary Chinese art research.”


1. Chinese Art in Context

Cultural Interaction and Exchange from Antiquity to the Mid-twentieth Century – Realist and Modernist Art in China,1911-1948 – Socialist-Realist and Revolutionary Art in the People’s Republic of China, 1949-1977

2. Modern (Contemporary) Chinese Art, 1976-1989

The Early Development of Modern (Contemporary) Chinese Art – Avant-garde Art in the People’s Republic of China – The Dissolution of the ’85 Movement

3. Contemporary Chinese Art, 1990-2001

Contemporary Chinese Art after Tiananmen – The Internationalization of Contemporary Chinese Art – Experimental Art and Social Transformation in the People’s Republic of China

4. Contemporary Chinese Art, 2002-2013

Contemporary Chinese Art on the Global Stage – Contemporary Chinese Art and Contemporaneity – The Political Recuperation of Contemporary Chinese Art

Glossary of Chinese Names


Select Bibliography


Photo Acknowledgements


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