Chinese Art Market 101 Essay

1497 words - 6 pages

The Chinese art boom of the 2000s will be remembered as one of the most influential periods in modern art history. Chinese art dates back to the sixth century during the period of the Northern and Southern dynasties. During the Sui and Tang dynasties (500-1000 A.D), China was reunifying, creating a period of prosperity and a flourishing art and literature market. Art during this time reflected many different cultural backgrounds around China. These art pieces included paintings, calligraphies, Buddhist sculptures, metalwork and ceramics. After this period came the Song dynasty. The Song dynasty was an era that shaped Chinese culture. During this time, art was mainly focused on textiles that were produced for trade, and ceramics. The next major era included the Ming and Qing dynasties. Art was flourishing, and porcelains were being produced as exports to ship around the world. With the fall of the Qing dynasty, introduced the twentieth century and the Communist era. In the beginning of the century, artists were involved with reform movements to promote nationalism and modernism. Major artists went abroad for training, those who stayed created private art societies. Most of the art practiced included “fine art” paintings. However, previous art practices like calligraphy and ceramics were no longer taught in art schools. In the 1940s, the Communist party inflicted standards on art production, hindering artists’ ability to create what they wanted. Then finally in the 1980s, a new generation of artists emerged, embracing Western art. These artists tested boundaries, challenged the communist party, and painted about taboo subjects. This is time that the Chinese contemporary art market started to make a name for itself.
Chinese artists were isolated from the global market until 1979. “While Andy Warhol and Robert Rauschenberg were taking the Western art world by storm, mainstream Chinese artists were still confined to propaganda works and Soviet-inspired social realism,” (Ho, 35). These “avant-garde” artists saw themselves as cultural pioneers with the job to educate the people, fight for social reform, defy the past (Lu). These Chinese political regimes hindered Chinese art from flourishing. Government officials were worried that art could be too powerful, and turn Chinese society against the government and communist ways. As a result, the government confiscated any art created during this time as a way to keep the people quiet and prevent any uproar. It was not until September 30th 1991, that Chinese contemporary art was seen at the global level, after the Cultural Revolution. However in 1999, was when Chinese art really captured world attention, at the 48th Venice Biennale (Ho). Then finally in 2003, the official invitation to the national pavilion came, after this the Ministry of Culture in China, a ministry of the government responsible for culture policy including managing national museums, was institutionally included in...

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