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Art And China From 1989 – 2008

Art And China From 1989 – 2008

Wenda Gu – 36 vanishing gold section pigments

Installation view: Exceptional Passage: Chinese Avant-Garde Artists Exhibition, former Kashii Rail Yard, Fukuoka, Japan, August 29–September 30, 1991.

TITLE: Wenda Gu| 36 Vanishing Gold Section Pigments
DIMENSIONS: Trench: 3 m deep × 150 m × 7 m
YEAR: 1991
PHOTO: Courtesy the artist.

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum announced Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World. A major exhibition of contemporary art from China spanning 1989 to 2008; arguably the most transformative period of modern Chinese and recent world history. A fresh interpretative survey of Chinese experimental art framed by the geopolitical dynamics resulting from the end of the Cold War, the spread of globalisation, and the rise of China, ‘Art and China after 1989’ is on view from October 6, 2017, to January 7, 2018. The exhibition, the largest of its kind ever in North America, looks at a bold contemporary art movement that anticipated, chronicled, and agitated for the sweeping social transformation that has brought China to the centre of the global conversation.

Wenda Gu – 36 Vanishing Gold Section Pigments

In Memory of Tseng Kwong Chi, 1991 (detail) | Photocopy and epoxy resin, 15 pieces, between 30.5 × 28 cm and 34.9 × 28 cm each | Collection of the artist.

TITLE: Zhang Honftu | In Memory of Tseng Kwong Chi
MEDIUM: Photocopy and epoxy resin
DIMENSIONS: 30.5 × 28 cm and 34.9 × 28 cm each
YEAR: 1991
PHOTO: Courtesy the artist.

The exhibition title was derived from an installation by Huang Yong Ping. ‘Theater of the World’ (1993) is a large, octagonal, cage-like structure that houses thousands of live scorpions, beetles, and lesser insects that devour each other over the course of the show. This real-life spectacle brings viewers into an immediate encounter with the violent yet matter-of-fact play of powerful forces over the weak. “This focused examination invites us to consider our own contemporary history through the lens of some of the most thoughtful contemporary artists from China.”

Zhou Tiehai | There Came a Mr. Solomon to China

Collection of Laurence A. Rickels.

TITLE: Zhou Tiehai | There Came a Mr. Solomon to China
MEDIUM: Ink, graphite, watercolor, and paper collage
DIMENSIONS: 230 × 350 cm
YEAR: 1994
PHOTO: Courtesy the artist.

With a concentration on the conceptualist art practice of two generations of artists, this exhibition examines how Chinese artists have been both agents and sceptics of China’s emergence as a global presence and places their experiments firmly in a global art-historical context. “‘Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World’ revolves around key artists, groups, and movements active across China and internationally, whose provocations aim to forge reality free from ideology, to establish the individual apart from the collective polity, and to define contemporary Chinese experience in universal terms,” remarks lead curator Alexandra Munroe.

Song Dong | Stamping the Water

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Promised Gift of Cynthia Hazen Polsky | Performance view: Keepers of the Waters: Public Art concerning Water, Lhasa, Tibet, August 18–19, 1996.

TITLE: Song Dong | Stamping the Water
MEDIUM: 36 chromogenic prints
DIMENSIONS: 61 × 40 cm each
YEAR: 1996
PHOTO: Courtesy the artist and Pace Gallery.

Occupying the Guggenheim’s full Frank Lloyd Wright-designed rotunda and two Tower Galleries, ‘Art and China after 1989’ highlights the conceptual and artistic achievements of 71 artists and collectives and features nearly 150 iconic and lesser-known works on loan from private and public collections across Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and the United States. Divided into six chronological and thematic sections, the exhibition showcases works in experimental mediums including film and video, ink, installation, and land art, as well as painting, sculpture, photography, performance, and socially engaged participatory art and activism. Archival materials documenting and contextualising key moments and movements in this contested history are also interwoven throughout the exhibition.

TITLE: Zhang Peili
MEDIUM: Color video, with sound, 32 min, 9 sec
DIMENSIONS: 30 x 30 cm
YEAR: 1988
PHOTO: Guggenheim Abu Dhabi.

Yu Hong

Deng Xiaoping’s Tour in the South of China, “China Pictorial,” p. 2, no. 6, 1992, and 1992, Twenty-Six Years Old, A Still of the Film “The Days,” 2001, from Witness to Growth 1999–present | Two parts, left: inkjet print, 68 x 100 cm; right: acrylic on canvas, 100 x 100 cm. Collection of the artist, Beijing © Yu Hong.

TITLE: Yu Hong
DIMENSIONS: Left: Inkjet print, 68 x 100 cm; Right: Acrylic on canvas, 100 x 100 cm
YEAR: 1992

Huang Yong Ping | Theater of the World

Wood and metal structure with warming lamps, electric cable, insects (spiders, scorpions, crickets, cockroaches, black beetles, stick insects, centipedes), lizards, toads, and snakes. Guggenheim Abu Dhabi © Huang Yong Ping

TITLE: Huang Yong Ping | Theater of the World
DIMENSIONS: 150 x 270 x 160 cm
YEAR: 1993

Chen Zhen | Fu Dao/Fu Dao

Chen Zhen | Fu Dao/Fu Dao, Upside-Down Buddha/Arrival at Good Fortune, 1997 | Steel, bamboo, resin Buddha statues, washing machine, computer monitor, tires, bicycle, fan, chair, household appliances, other found objects, and string.

TITLE: Chen Zhen | Fu Dao/Fu Dao
DIMENSIONS: 350 x 800 x 550 cm
YEAR: 1997
COURTESY: Galleria Continua, San Gimignano/Beijing/Les Moulins/ Havana

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