Whitehot Magazine

Picasso Show Captivates Beijing, Whose Art Scene Hums as Censors Hover

A guide giving a talk on Picasso’s “Portrait of Marie-Therese” (1937). For a point of comparison, Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” is on her laptop. Credit Gilles Sabrie (via The New York Times)

By Jane Perlez  (courtesy of The New York Times)
July 28, 2019

BEIJING — The fashion peacocks are parading in Beijing this summer. A young woman with a short crop of neon green hair. Another with scarlet bangs. Others in pointy-toed shoes and perfect makeup. A young man in a pale blue silk shirt, matching bermudas and beige boots.

They are all part of the crowd lining up to see the hot art show of the season — works by the young Picasso at the UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, a prestigious gallery in the 798 art quarter.

Beijing brags about its humming art scene. Galleries thrive. The art schools possess a certain frisson. Art is widely taught in elementary schools.

But shrouding all this creative fervor is the meddling hand of the government. Censorship is rife in literature, and film. Although few art shows have been closed in the last few years, exhibitions are self-censored, and many artists choose to work abroad to escape the official tastemakers.

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