Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Global Arts and Cultures
Jung Joon Lee
This thesis is to destabilize the Western dominant understanding of contemporary Chinese art when it circulates on the global art market, such as the all-to-common narratives only celebrating Chinese artists who are politically criticizing or resist the Chinese authority. Meanwhile, I also question the authority control inside of China, especially the mainstream criteria of aesthetics and art. Cultural anthropologist Aihwa Ong observes that some Western scholars believe contemporary Chinese art to be “crass opportunism with reduced aesthetic value.”Chinese American artist and art critic Chen Danqing criticizes contemporary Chinese art from the last ten years as too utilitarian: “During the Cultural Revolution, all [Chinese] artists worried about their artworks not being ‘revolutionary’; today, I see they only worry about their ‘tricks’ are not ‘contemporary’ enough.” He critically argued that Chinese art today is a consequence of learning Western art due to a lack of cultural confidence.
I argue that contemporary Chinese art is not market-driven or simply copy Western arts. It has been shaped by the context of its particular socio-political and economic condition since the middle of the twentieth century. I also emphasize the specialness of “contemporaneity” in contemporary Chinese art.
Li, Tiange, "Inside out: rethinking contemporary Chinese art and global creative economy" (2021). Masters Theses. 736.
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