cover image Art and China's Revolution

Art and China's Revolution

Melissa Chiu, Zheng Shengtian, . . Yale Univ., $65 (259pp) ISBN 978-0-300-14064-4

This lushly illustrated and highly informative catalogue argues that the art of the Cultural Revolution represents an important cultural movement in China necessary to comprehend both the revolution's context and contemporary Chinese art. Essays and interviews illustrate the collection's focused yet diversified scope: topics range from contemporary artist Zheng Shengtian's reflections on the influence of Soviet art on Chinese artists to portraits of Mao as artistic genre. Of particular note is an instructive introduction to the origins and implications of the Cultural Revolution by Harvard historian Roderick MacFarquhar; an absorbing essay on the No Name group, the Cultural Revolution's first underground art group; a revealing interview with contemporary Chinese artist Xu Bing; and artist Zhao Yannian's rousing, lyrical account of his release from prison and makeshift trial at a struggle session. A useful appendix provides relevant historical documents including Mao's most influential speeches on cultural policy and a chronology of historical and art events from 1949 to 1979. This is a valuable and varied collection for those interested in the fascinating interplay between art and politics during the Cultural Revolution and the period's significance for contemporary China. 150 color and 50 b&w illus. (Nov.)