China Art Gallery


China Art Gallery
(Zhongguo meishuguan)
The China Art Gallery was founded in 1959. The architectural design incorporates both traditional and modern elements. It functions at state level as the primary official exhibition space for modern art and it is the one of the largest art galleries in China with fourteen exhibition halls covering a surface of 6,000 square metres. Exhibitions and publications of Chinese art sponsored by the China Art Gallery concentrate on modern and contemporary works in a wide range of styles. Over a hundred exhibitions of foreign modern art have been organized, while exhibitions based on works from the Gallery’s own collection are frequently shown abroad, one of the most notable being the Guggenheim show, ‘A Century in Crisis’ (1998).
During its early years the focus was primarily on revolutionary art and positive expressions of nationalism continue to dominate its exhibitions.
The number of exhibitions displaying both traditional and modern styles of Chinese art as well as work by foreign artists has increased steadily since the 1980s. Despite the official nature of the gallery—which remains the site of display of the final, prize-winning selection of the national exhibitions—many works have been shown there that have stretched the range of official acceptability. While in 1979 for the first avant-garde art exhibition organized by the Stars (Xingxing huapai) the artists hung their works on the railings outside the gallery in protest at their exclusion from official exhibition spaces, in 1980 they were allowed to show inside the gallery for their second show. The landmark event breaking for the first and last time the gallery’s limits of acceptability came with the China Avant-Garde exhibition of 1989. The 7th National Art Exhibition that followed the same year marked a radical return to conservatism that has been slow to change. With the radical reduction in government funding for the arts in the late 1990s, moreover, the gallery has been run along commercial lines, hosting for the most part paid exhibitions of often questionable artistic quality.
Wu, Hung (2000). Exhibiting Experimental Art in China. Chicago: The Smart Museum of Art, 26–9.
MORGAN PERKINS

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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