'[...] Contemporary Chinese artists tend to navigate between extremes, either embracing or rejecting a rich classical tradition. Indeed, for Chinese artists, the term "modernity" refers not to a new epoch or aesthetic but to a new nation—modernity inextricably connects politics to art. It is this notion of "total modernity" that forms the foundation of the Chinese avant-garde aesthetic, and of this book.

Gao examines the many ways Chinese artists engaged with this intrinsic total modernity, including the '85 Movement, political pop, cynical realism, apartment art, maximalism, and the museum age, encompassing the emergence of local art museums and organizations as well as such major events as the Shanghai Biennial. He describes the inner logic of the Chinese context while locating the art within the framework of a worldwide avant-garde. He vividly describes the Chinese avant-garde’s embrace of a modernity that unifies politics, aesthetics, and social life, blurring the boundaries between abstraction, conception, and representation. [...]' (excerpt from front flap)

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art history85 New WaveChina

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Chapter headings
Part One: The Avant-Garde in the Past
Avant-Garde and Revolution in Twentieth-Century Chinese Art
Academicism and the Amateur Avant-Garde in the Post-Cultural Revolution Period (1979-1984)
Part Two: The '85 Movement
The Map of the '85 Avant-Garde Movement
The 'China/Avant-Garde' Exhibition of 1989
Metaphysical Modernity: Rationalist Painting and Current of Life Painting
Chan Meets Dada: Merging Destruction and Tradition in the Avant-Garde Mentality
Metaphor over Meaning: Language Art and Gray Humor
Part Three: The Post-'85 Avant-Garde
Kitsch and Complicity: The Case of Political Pop and Cynical Realism
Apartment Art
Total Modernity and the Avant-Garde in Twentieth-Century Chinese Art
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Total Modernity and the Avant-Garde in Twentieth-Century Chinese Art