Meishu


Meishu
[Fine Arts]
Art journal
Meishu, first published in 1951 as Renmin meishu [The People’s Art], was relaunched under its present name in 1954. It is sponsored by the China Artists’ Association, which is controlled by the Propaganda Department of the Chinese Communist Party. Cancelled for ten years during the Cultural Revolution, it began to publish again in 1978. In the early 1980s, with He Rong as chief editor, Meishu welcomed art school graduates to form its new generation of editors: Li Xianting, Gao Minglu, Tang Qingnian and Wang Xiaojian, all of whom later played a central role in the 85 New Wave [Art] Movement. In the mid 1980s, Shao Dazhen, an art historian and critic from the Central Academy of Fine Arts, was appointed as the chief editor.
A graduate from Soviet art schools in the 1950s, Shao was nonetheless an open-minded scholar who was tolerant of the new ideas being expressed in the magazine, although he still had to comply with government censorship. With the efforts of young editors, Gao Minglu in particular, Meishu became the most important art magazine in the 1980s, enthusiastically promoting Western art from classical to early modern, from Impressionism, Post-Impressionism and Expressionism to Cubism, Dadaism, Abstract Art and Happenings, and from Dali and Picasso to Beuys. Meishu was also one of the major sponsors of China Avant-Garde (1989), the first show of non-official art held since 1949. Soon after the 4 June Incident of 1989, Shao Dazhen was replaced by Hua Xia, a Leftist art critic who reversed the policies of his predecessor. With the support of Wang Qi, head of the China Artists’ Association and an early chief editor of Meishu, Hua Xia transformed Meishu into a ‘Leftist’ magazine that only published articles and images complying with the official political viewpoint and/or highly commercial trends.
QIAN ZHIJIAN

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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