The People’s Republic of China

The People's Republic of China was established after World War II. At first a strict Communist regime that looked to directly control art production as a mode of propaganda, since the 1980s, China has opened up to more diverse practices.


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Pan Tianshou, <em>Red Lotus</em>
Pan Tianshou, Red Lotus

With Red Lotus, Pan emphasizes the relationship between ink painting and Chinese identity in the modern era.

Zhang Daqian, <em>Panorama of Mount Lu</em>
Zhang Daqian, Panorama of Mount Lu

For its spectacular technical mastery of ink and color, and global relevance as a grand-scale abstract composition, Panorama of Mount Lu stands as a monument to Zhang’s legacy. 

Art in the Mao era and Cultural Revolution, an introduction
Art in the Mao era and Cultural Revolution, an introduction

This essay introduces art created in the formative years of the People's Republic of Chnia, when Mao’s leadership shaped nearly every aspect of Chinese culture.

Dong Xiwen, <em>The Founding of the Nation</em>
Dong Xiwen, The Founding of the Nation

Founding the Nation marks the rapid transformation of mainstream art into propaganda during the Mao era.

Xu Zhen – ‘Artists Change the Way People Think’
Xu Zhen – ‘Artists Change the Way People Think’

Conceptual artist, curator and entrepreneur Xu Zhen is a leading figure among the younger generation of Chinese contemporary artists.

Xu Bing, <em>Book from the Sky</em>
Xu Bing, Book from the Sky

Xu Bing’s text is illegible—even to those who can read Chinese.

Ai Weiwei, <em>Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn</em>
Ai Weiwei, Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn

How can the destruction of an artifact also be an act of preservation?

Luo Zhongli, <em>Father</em>
Luo Zhongli, Father

Luo Zhongli's Father remains one of the most revered paintings from this period in China’s history.

Xu Bing, <em>Monkeys Grasp for the Moon</em>
Xu Bing, Monkeys Grasp for the Moon

The artwork is based on a well-known Chinese folktale about a group of monkeys attempting to capture the moon.

Modern China (1912–present), an introduction
Modern China (1912–present), an introduction

From the end of the twentieth century to today, rapid improvements in the economy, increasing globalization, and growing status as a major political and military power have continued to significantly alter life, including in the cultural sphere, ensuring China’s place in the contemporary art field.

An interview with Au Ho-nien
An interview with Au Ho-nien

Au Ho-nien looks to Western realism and the practice of sketching from life as a way to revitalize Chinese art.

Ai Weiwei, <em>Remembering</em> and the Politics of Dissent
Ai Weiwei, Remembering and the Politics of Dissent

When thousands of schoolchildren died in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, Ai Weiwei refused to stay silent.

Selected Contributors