My Generation: Young Chinese Artists
By PAUL LASTER, JUN 2014
The first American exhibition to focus exclusively on the post-Mao generation of Chinese artists, My Generation: Young Chinese Artists features the painting, sculpture, photography, installation, and video by 27 artists from mainland China that were born after 1976—the year of Mao’s death. Curated by Chinese contemporary art specialist Barbara Pollack, the exhibition examines five expansive themes (personal relationships, the family, politics, the urban environment, and religion) at the Tampa Art Museum and Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg.
“You have to really throw out stereotypes of Chinese contemporary art when you look at this work. These artists are rebelling against the commercialization of China, which they see the older generation of artists having done," Pollock told Whitehot on opening day. "Between the older generation of artists and this generation it's as though they grew up in two different countries and two different centuries. They come from all over China and from all kinds of economic backgrounds, but mainly live in Beijing or Shanghai for career reasons. There is not one artist in this show that has a day job. There's a big enough market in China that if you can make it through the art schools you can have a successful career. All of these artists have been exhibiting since they got out of art school.”
The featured artists and collectives in the exhibition are Birdhead, 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 Fang, Ma Qiusha, Qiu Xiaofei, Shi Zhiying, Song Kun, Sun Xun, Wang Yuyang, Xu Zhen (MadeIn), Yan Xing, Zhang Ding, Zhao Zhao, and Zhou Yilun. Coming of age in a more liberalized society than the previous generation of artists, they have been influenced as much by international art and globalization as they have been by their own culture.
My Generation is a single show divided between the Tampa Museum of Art and Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg. It’s on view at both museums through September 28, 2014. The exhibition will travel to the Oklahoma City Museum of Art where it will be on view from October 24, 2014 through January 18, 2015.
Paul Laster is a writer, editor, independent curator, artist and lecturer. He is a New York desk editor at ArtAsiaPacific and a contributing editor at Whitehot and artBahrain. He was the founding editor of Artkrush.com and Artspace.com and art editor of Flavorpill.com and Russell Simmons's OneWorld Magazine; started TheDailyBeast.com's art section; and worked as a photojournalist for Artnet.com and Art in America. He is a frequent contributor to Time Out New York, New York Observer, Modern Painters, ArtPulse and ArtInfo.com.view all articles from this author