Learn with Archives

Art Education in China Since 1949

What is art education, and how should we conduct it? This mini-course introduces art education in China from the 1950s to the 2000s, featuring the works of Chinese artists from different generations. In these 5 short clips, we will look into the development of tertiary art education in China under the changing socio-political context, and how artist-educators and students continued to innovate under specific limits of different eras.

The content of this series of short videos is derived from Teaching Labs | Pushing the boundaries of art education. 

Content: Anthony Yung, AAA Researcher
Voice over: Lee Yee Ting
Language: Cantonese (with English subtitles)
Total Length:  32 minutes  

Part I: Overview of the People’s Republic of China in the early founding days and in the 1950s  

Length: 8 minutes


  • Key Events
    Yan’an Forum on Art and Literature (1942), Founding of the People's Republic of China (1949), Great Leap Forward (1958–61)

  •  Keywords
    Realism and Modernism, Remolding Chinese painting, Education must serve the proletarian politics, Emphasis on training in new year illustration, comic strip, and propaganda poster, Soviet Model, Konstantin Maksimov, Pavel Chistyakov

  • Artist-educators
    Xu Beihong, Lin Fengmian

  •  Art education
    Establishment of the eight art academies, Establishment of 5-year schooling system and departments of Chinese paintings, oil paintings, prints and sculptures (mid-1950s), Konstantin Maksimov came to Chinese to train Chinese Art educators in Socialist-realism (1955-57)

 

Part II: Overview of China from 1958-66

Length: 6 minutes


  • Key Events
    Sino-Soviet Split (1958), Socialist Education Movement (1963–66), Mexican Art Front Exhibition and David Alfaro Siqueiros’ talk (1956)
  • Keywords
    Formalisation of the socialist nation, Hundred Flowers Campaign, Mexican Art, Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Zheng Shengtian, Eugen Popa, Jin Yide
  • Artist-educators
    Wu Zuoren, Luo Gongliu, Dongxiwen

  •  Art Education
    Central Academy of Fine Arts adopted the studio system for the first time (1959), Strengthened artistic exchange between China and east-European countries (1960s), Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts invited Romanian artist Eugen Popa to conduct oil painting classes (1961-63)

 

Part III: Cultural Revolution (1966-76)

Length: 5 minutes


  • Keywords
    Big-character poster, Red Guard Art, Art as political propaganda

  • Art Education
    Rapture of education in art academies, Art classes for workers, peasants and soldiers, Universities started recruitment of workers, peasants and soldiers in 1970

 

Part IV: Overview of China from 1977 to 1989

Length: 6 minutes


  • Key Events
    Death of Mao Zedong (1976), Resume of university entrance exams (1977), Reform and Opening, Tiananmen Square Incident (1989)

  • Keywords
    Scar art, Debate over Realism, Unofficial art,  ‘85 New Wave, China Avant/Garde Exhibition (1989)

  • Artist-educators
    Zheng Shengtian, Jin Yide

  • Art Education
    Art academies started to introduce foreign art books (1979), state started to sponsor teachers to study overseas i.e. Zheng Shengtian

Part V: After the 2000s

Length: 7 minutes


  • Keywords
    Expansion of China’s economy, Expansion of Nationwide University Enrolment (late 1990s), New Media Department at Central Academy of Fine Arts (2003-2010), Jiang Zhuyun, Lu Yang

  • Artist-educators
    Zhang Peili, Geng Jianyi

  • Art Education
    Expansion of higher education (1999), Experiments of contemporary art in formal art academies, Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts was renamed China Academy of Art (1993), Zhang Peili and Geng Jianyi led the New Media Art Department (2003 – 2010)

 

The 2021 Teaching Labs series is part of AAA’s teacher professional development programme. 

AAA’s Learning and Participation Programme is supported by the S. H. Ho Foundation Limited, and the C. K. & Kay Ho Foundation.

Publishing date: 21 March 2022

Relevant content

Contemporary Oil Paintings from the People's Republic of China (Exhibition Opening)
Zheng Shengtian Archive 鄭勝天檔案
Collections

Zheng Shengtian Archive 鄭勝天檔案

TLChina_homelist
Pushing the Boundaries of Art Education
Programmes | Teaching Labs

Pushing the Boundaries of Art Education

30 Jan & 27 Feb 2021

AAA Library is currently closed for renovation. Please stay tuned on our social media for the opening date. We look forward to welcoming you back.