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.