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“My Generation”: Young Chinese artists on American tour – in pictures


Barbara Pollack curates an exhibition of post-Mao Chinese art,

currently on show at the Tampa Museum of Art.

The Tampa Museum of Art is holding an exhibition of emerging

artists from post-Mao China until 28 September 2014. The show

features the work of 27 young artists who explore life in

contemporary China through individual points of view and

unique works.

“My Generation: Young Chinese Artists” was launched on 7

June 2014 at the Tampa Museum of Art, Florida, United States

and will be on show until 28 September. It will then travel to the

Oklahoma City Museum of Art, where it will be on view from 24

October 2014 through 18 January 2015. Curated by Chinese art

expert Barbara Pollack, the exhibition is the first of its kind to

focus only on China’s post-Mao generation.

The post-Mao generation

All of the artists in the exhibition were born in China after the

Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) and after Mao’s death (1976).

It is this aspect that sets this exhibition apart from other major

showcases of contemporary Chinese art.

The YCAs (Young Chinese Artists), as Pollack refers to them, are

not concerned with the politics of Communism or the Cultural

Revolution unlike their predecessors or older peers. They are

instead exploring and responding to the many facets of

contemporary life in China, a country that has grown into one

of the largest economic powers in the world in less than two


The YCAs have grown up through the Chinese art boom, with

galleries, auction houses, biennales, fairs and 1,000 new

museums. They have engaged with their artistic careers right

after art school.

The globalisation of the art market in China is visible in their

works: other than exploring their individual lives and

perspectives, they don’t try to emphasise any “Chinese-ness

” to impress western audiences.

In the catalogue essay, Pollack says of the artists:

They are empowered, not only because they live in the fastest

growing superpower in the world and are beneficiaries of its

greatly expanding free market. They are empowered also

because the art world has likewise been expanding globally

during this period and seems poised to acknowledge them as

fully-fledged art stars who have transcended the limitations of

language and cultural differences.

Rebelling against commercialisation

At the opening of the exhibition, the curator told Whitehot

Magazine that the exhibition represented new young artists

from China who seemed to have grown up and inhabit a

different country and a different century compared to the older

generation of Chinese artists:

You have to really throw out stereotypes of Chinese

contemporary art when you look at this work. These artists are

rebelling against the commercialisation of China, which they

see the older generation of artists having done.

The 27 artists in the exhibition are:

Chen Wei
Chi Peng
Cui Jie
Double Fly Art Center
Fang Lu
Guo Hongwei
Hu Xiangqian
Hu Xiaoyuan
Huang Ran
Irrelevant Commission
Jin Shan
Liang Yuanwei
Liu Chuang
Liu Di
Lu Yang
Ma Qiusha
Qiu Xiaofei
Shi Zhiying
Song Kun
Sun Xun
Wang Yuyang
Xu Zhen (MadeIn)
Yan Xing
Zhang Ding
Zhao Zhao
Zhou Yilun

Narratives and issues that the artists explore represent their

individual styles and perspectives on life in contemporary China

– whether they are examining and commenting on personal

life or on broader political, economic and societal topics.

The variety of the artworks on show is extensive, for example,

Birdhead’s photographic documentation explores life in

Shanghai; Fang Lu’s personalised videos depict inevitable

bodily changes and transformations in an era of plastic surgery;

and Lu Yang’s multimedia works at the outer limits of new

technology represent the frenetic pace of contemporary


Related Topics: Chinese artists, art in China, emerging artists,

museum shows, touring exhibitions, curatorial practice, events

in the USA, picture feasts

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