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Visual Culture in Contemporary China
Paradigms and Shifts

  • Date Published: March 2015
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107446373

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About the Authors
  • Exploring a wealth of images ranging from woodblock prints to oil paintings, this beautifully illustrated full-color study takes up key elements of the visual culture produced in the People's Republic of China from its founding in 1949 to the present day. In a challenge to prevailing perceptions, Xiaobing Tang argues that contemporary Chinese visual culture is too complex to be understood in terms of a simple binary of government propaganda and dissident art, and that new ways must be sought to explain as well as appreciate its multiple sources and enduring visions. Drawing on rich artistic, literary, and sociopolitical backgrounds, Tang presents a series of insightful readings of paradigmatic works in contemporary Chinese visual arts and cinema. Lucidly written and organized to address provocative questions, this compelling study underscores the global and historical context of Chinese visual culture and offers a timely new perspective on our understanding of China today.

    • A rich, informative and in-depth analysis of a continually changing China through its visual expressions since 1949
    • Challenges prevailing western perceptions of contemporary China
    • Places Chinese visual culture within a global and historical context, illustrating the diversity of Chinese history and society
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "This is a must-read for anyone interested in China’s post-socialist and socialist eras and the continuing, lively interaction between the two. In putting visual culture at the centre of contemporary Chinese historical developments, Tang challenges our assumptions about what China is and is not."
    Paul A. Clark, University of Auckland

    "A thought-provoking and outstanding contribution to the field. Xiaobing Tang urges Western viewers and reviewers to set aside constrictive paradigms and consider China’s socialist and contemporary culture in its complexity and uniqueness."
    Richard King, University of Victoria

    "This is an indispensable volume for understanding the development of Chinese modernity."
    Chang Tsong-Zung, curator and co-founder of the Asia Art Archive in Hong Kong, co-founder of the Hong Kong chapter of AICA, and guest Professor, China Art Academy

    'In this gorgeously illustrated, richly produced book, Xiaobing Tang introduces visual culture studies to several cultural sectors in the People’s Republic of China … Tang’s book is a timely and forcefully argued study that points the way for future research of visual culture in China.' Sean Macdonald, Frontiers of Literary Studies in China

    '… in this very readable history of the development of visual culture in contemporary China, Tang has succeeded in bringing together a number of vastly different topics and artistic styles and developments.' Stefan Landsberger, Pacific Affairs

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2015
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107446373
    • length: 287 pages
    • dimensions: 247 x 174 x 14 mm
    • weight: 0.64kg
    • contains: 90 colour illus.
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Acknowledgements
    A brief timeline of relevant events
    Introduction: toward a short history of visual culture in contemporary China
    1. How was socialist visual culture created? Part I. Revelations of an Art Form:
    2. How was socialist visual culture created? Part II. Revelations of a History Painting:
    3. What do we see in New China cinema?
    4. What does socialist visual experience mean to contemporary art?
    5. How (not) to watch a Chinese blockbuster
    6. Where to look for art in contemporary China?
    Conclusion: seeing China from afar
    Glossary
    Filmography
    Select bibliography
    Index.

  • Author

    Xiaobing Tang, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
    Xiaobing Tang is Helmut F. Stern Professor of Modern Chinese Studies and Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Michigan. His research focuses on twentieth-century Chinese literature, visual arts, and cultural politics. He has published in Chinese and English on a broad range of topics and different cultural texts. His English publications include Origins of the Chinese Avant-Garde (2008) and Chinese Modern (2000). In 2011, he guest-curated Multiple Impressions: Contemporary Chinese Woodblock Prints for the University of Michigan Museum of Art and edited the exhibition catalogue.

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