Challenging and Mediating: Art and Society in the People’s Republic of China

Conference: AAS-in-Asia2020 (AAS-in-Asia2020)
Title: Challenging and Mediating: Art and Society in the People’s Republic of China
Stream: Art/Art History
Presentation Type: Panel Presentation
Panelists:
Yiqing Li, University of California, San Diego, United States (organizer, chair)
Julia Andrews, Ohio State University, United States (discussant)
Kuiyi Shen, University of California at San Diego, United States (discussant)
Yifan Li, Ohio State University, United States (presenter)
Yiqing Li, University of California, San Diego, United States (presenter)
Zhiyan Yang, University of Chicago, United States (presenter)
Yanhua Zhou, University of Arizona, United States (presenter)

Abstract:

This panel proposes to present the changing ways that art engages and mediates the social transformations in the People’s Republic of China. While artistic creations and receptions are subjected to the drastic socio-political movements in Chinese communist society, both artists and art audiences have played an increasingly active role in formulating new art vocabulary, networks of exchange, and modes of practice in order to challenge the ossified official ideology and to address the menacing issues posed by urbanization and globalization.

With each presenter concentrating on one distinct medium – propaganda poster, oil painting, architecture, and socially engaged art, the panel together argues that the changing roles of art in society signifies an arduous search for the freedom of expression, which, in turn, affects the subjective experience of art through worshipping, viewing, living, and direct participation. Yifan Li, PhD candidate of Ohio State University, will open up the panel with the examination of the pictorial representation of Mao’s swims and its role of political propaganda in establishing the Mao’s cult in the early period of PRC. Yiqing Li, PhD candidate of University of California at San Diego, however, will present intellectual painters’ reaction against the art of political propaganda to facilitate the legitimacy of self-expression in the post-Cultural Revolution period. Yang Zhiyan, PhD candidate of University of Chicago, will discuss how contemporary architects borrowed from art practices as a means of understanding urbanization and reclaiming social responsibility. Zhou Yanhua, PhD candidate of University of Arizona, will end the panel presentation through analyzing socially engaged art in both rural and urban places in order to rethink critical models of art by considering the emerging practices and the new types of audiences in the post-Socialist period.