Contemporary Chinese Art

Contemporary Chinese Art: A History


  1. Wu Hung
  • ISBN 9780500239209
  • 29.70 x 23.00 cm
  • Hardback
  • 456pp
  • 425 Illustrations, 323 in colour
  • First published 2014

From its underground genesis during the Cultural Revolution, contemporary Chinese art has become a dynamic and hugely influential force in a globalized art world where the distinctions between Eastern and Western civilization are rapidly collapsing

‘A stunning publication that could well become a classic’ – Burlington Magazine


This richly illustrated survey considers contemporary Chinese art both in the context of China’s specific historical experience and in the global arena, providing a much-needed narrative of the development of Chinese art across all media during a period of radical social, political and economic change.

Wu Hung explores:
• The emergence of avant-garde or contemporary art – as opposed to officially sanctioned art – in the public sphere after the Cultural Revolution
• The mobilization by young artists and critics of a nationwide avant-garde movement in the mid-1980s
• The re-emphasis on individual creativity in the late 1980s
• The heightened spirit of experimentation of the 1990s
• The catapulting of contemporary Chinese art into the global arena from the 1990s onwards.

The book introduces the reader to key art movements, styles and trends, important artists and art projects, experimental exhibitions and avant-garde publications, and China’s growing number of new museums, galleries and alternative art spaces.

Contemporary Chinese Art is an indispensable resource to one of the most vital and exciting areas of international art practice today.

Wu Hung is a historian, critic and curator of Chinese art. He is the Founder and Director of the Center for the Art of East Asia at the University of Chicago and the Harrie A. Vanderstappen Distinguished Service Professor in Chinese Art History at the Department of Art History and the Department of East Asian Studies and Civilizations at the same university.
    His curatorial projects include Transience: Chinese Experimental Art at the End of the Twentieth Century and Canceled: Exhibiting Contemporary Art in China, both at the Smart Museum of Art, Chicago, and the First Guangzhou Triennial entitled Reinterpretation: A Decade of Experimental Art in China. He has published widely on both traditional and contemporary Chinese art: most recently, his Contemporary Chinese Art: Primary Documents has become a crucial resource for students in this field.