China’s Irrepressible Modern Art Scene

April Austin of the Christian Science Monitor covers Chinese contemporary and the story of one of its most prominent collectors, former ambassador Uli Sigg:

China sits atop a gold mine of contemporary art that few people have ever seen, either inside or outside the country. An exhibition near Boston unveils an unexpected side of China – colorful, winsome, and touched with a subversive kind of humor.

The art falls roughly into two categories: a celebration of the individual over the collective experience, and the adaptation of traditional methods and forms into entirely new objects. From juiced-up portraits of Chairman Mao Zedong to misty landscapes composed of human bodies, Chinese contemporary art has emerged as a heavyweight contender on the global scene.

Proof can be found in the exhibition “Mahjong: Contemporary Chinese Art from the Sigg Collection” at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass. About 100 objects, from paintings and photographs to installations and video, offer a glimpse of the vitality and diversity of Chinese culture.

March 28, 2009, 3:20 PM
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