Theater, Art, and the Cultural Revolution: A Presentation featuring Zheng Shengtian and Chen Xiaomei


Wang Liping, The New Ensembles from the Cultural and Art Club, 1975. Courtesy of Chen Xiaomei and The People’s Art Press.

China Institute 
March 29, 2017
Video documentation by Asia Art Archive in America

Artist, Curator, and Managing Editor of Yishu: Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art, Zheng Shengtian, returned to China Institute to continue his conversation with Jane DeBevoise, Chair of the Board of Directors, Asia Art Archive, on his experience as an artist and young teacher in the Oil Painting Department at Zhejiang Academy of Art in Hangzhou (now China Academy of Art) during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). Their conversation will focus on Zheng’s personal experience at that turbulent time, as well as the broader consequences of the Cultural Revolution on art in China. The discussion was preceded by a presentation by Chen Xiaomei, Professor of Chinese Literature at University of California, Davis. Chen’s presentation traced the history of theater and art of the Cultural Revolution from the end of imperial China through the Maoist period (1949 to 1976) to demonstrate how socialist arts inherited aspects of both traditional and modern culture, transforming them into a new culture that affected everyday life and personal experience. This presentation will include images of revolutionary posters, theater, and film.

Part 1:

Part 2:

_____________________________________________
Zheng Shengtian was born in China and graduated from the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou. For more than thirty years, he worked at his alma mater as Professor and Chair of the Oil Painting Department. He was also a visiting professor at the University of Minnesota and at San Diego State University in the 1980s. Zheng has immigrated to Canada since 1990. In 1993 he was elected as the Chairman of Chinese Canadian Artists Federation in Vancouver. From 1996 to 2000, he was the Secretary of the Annie Wong Art Foundation and Director of Art Beatus Gallery. In 2002 he co-founded Yishu: Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art, the first English language magazine on contemporary Chinese art and has been the Managing Editor since then. He was a founding member and Board Director of Vancouver International Centre for Contemporary Asian Art (Centre A) from 1999 to 2011. He is also a Trustee of Asia Art Archive in North America since 2009 and Vancouver Art Gallery from 2011 to 2015. In 2015 he was appointed as the Adjunct Director of Institute for Asian Art at Vancouver Art Gallery. As an independent curator, he has organized and curated numerous exhibitions including Jiangnan – Modern and Contemporary Chinese Art Exhibitions, Shanghai Modern, the 2004 Shanghai Biennale, China Trade, Reincarnation, and Art and China’s Revolution. He has been the Senior Curator for Asia of Vancouver Biennale since 2009 and won the Lifetime Achievement Award for his curatorial work. Zheng is a frequent contributor to periodicals and catalogues of contemporary Chinese and Asian art. He has lectured widely at institutions including Harvard University, Columbia University, Princeton University, Stanford University, Tate Modern, Getty Museum, San Francisco Asian Art Museum, among others. As an artist, his work has been showing in China, United States and Canada since 1960s and was a participant artist at the 5th Moscow Biennale in 2011. Zheng received an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver in 2013.

Chen Xiaomei was born in Beijing and, like many in her generation, went to the Northeast Wilderness to work on an army farm from age fifteen to eighteen during the Cultural Revolution. During her formative years in rural China, she worked in the field, performed theatrical works for the farmers and served as a local journalist to report their “good deeds and events.” She became a “worker-peasant-soldier college student” in 1973, majoring in English at Beijing Institute of Foreign Languages. She received a master’s degree in English and American Literature from Brigham Young University in 1984 and a doctoral degree in Comparative Literature from Indiana University in 1989. Upon graduation, she taught Chinese literature and theater at Ohio State University and is now Professor of Chinese Literature in the Department of East Asian languages and Cultures at University of California Davis. She is the author of several influential books such as Occidentalism: A Theory of Counter-Discourse in Post-Mao China (Oxford University Press, 1995), Acting the Right Part: Political Theater and Popular Drama in Contemporary China (University of Hawai’i Press, 2002), and her most recent book, Staging Chinese Revolution: Theater, Film, and the Afterlives of Propaganda (Columbia University Press, 2016). Her edited book titled Columbia Anthology of Modern Chinese Drama (Columbia University Press, 2010; abridged edition, 2013) has become a standard textbook, having provided “the largest single collection of plays of the 20th century beginning from the May Fourth era in 1919.”

Jane DeBevoise is Chair of the Board of Directors, Asia Art Archive, in Hong Kong and New York. Prior to moving to Hong Kong in 2002, Ms. DeBevoise was deputy director of the Guggenheim Museum, responsible for museum operations and exhibitions globally. She joined the museum in 1996 as project director of China: 5000 Years (1998), a large-scale exhibition of traditional and modern Chinese art at the Guggenheim museums in New York and Bilbao. Her recent book Between State and Market: Chinese Contemporary Art in the Post-Mao Era was published in 2014 by Brill.

Co-presented by China Institute and Asia Art Archive in America.

 


This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council. 

ALL KEYWORDS

20th century, abstract art, Abstraction, Access, acrylic, acrylic painting, Afghanistan, Africa, AIDS, Alternative Space, American History, american revolution, Animation, Anthology, anthropology, Architecture, Archive, art, Art Administration, art and society, art criticism, art history, art writing, Artificial Intelligence, artist book, Artist Books, artist's book, Artists Books, artist’s book, asia, Asia Art Archive, Asia-Pacific Triennale, Asian American, asian american art history, asian politics, Auction, Auctions, Australia, Automation, Autonomy, avant-garde, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Biennial, Big Tail Elephant, Bookbinding, Books, Brooklyn, Brunei, Buddhism, Burma, Butoh, Cambodia, Canton Express, care-giving, cartography, Catalogue, Censorship, Central Asia, ceramic art, ceramics, Chance, charcoal, Chengdu, China, Chinatown, chinese, chinese artist, Chinese-American, cities, civil rights movement, collage, Collecting, collection, Collections, Collective, Collectivity, colonialism, commercial art, Communism, community, Community Art, Composition, conceptual art, conceptual photography, Conservation, contemporary, contemporary art, culinary arts, cultural criticism, cultural heritage, cultural identity, cultural nationalism, Cultural Revolution, cultural studies, cultural theory, culture, Curating, Cutlural Revolution, cynical realism, Dance, Design, desire, developing countries, Dhaka Art Summit, Diaspora, digital, Digital Archives, digital art, digital poetics, digital print, Displacement, DNA, Documentary, Documentation, Domestic Labor, Drawing, east asia, Economics, Education, Emigration & Immigration Studies, encyclopedia, environment crisis, EPOXY, essays, etching, ethnic group, ethnic violence, ethnicity, ethnogenesis, ethnography, exhibition, Exhibition History, Experimental Music, family, Family Archives, Family Images, Feminism, Festivals, fiber, fibre art, Fiction, Field-recording, Film, Fluxus, Folklore, Form, Foundations, Fukuoka Triennial, Gender, Genetics, Geography, ghosts, global capitalism, globalization, Godzilla, Graphic Design, Graphic Novel, group exhibition, Guangzhou, Gutai, Gwangju Biennale, heneng, histories, history, Hong Kong, hong kong S.A.R., humanities, Identity, identity politics, imagined realities, Imaging, Imitation, immigrant, in situ, independent art space, Independent Publisher, Index, India, indian, indigenism, Indonesia, Infrastructure, ink, ink and colors, ink painting, ink-painting, Installation, installation art, Institution, interactive art, Internet, internet art, Iran, iranian, Island, Japan, Japanese American, jiang tiefeng, keywords, Khmer Rouge, Korea, korean, Labor, Land, Land Art, Language, laos, Leadership Camp, Lecture, Lhasa, Li Zhensheng, Libraries, Library, literature, liu shaohui, Live Art, Live Performance, Locality, Madagascar, Malaysia, Manananggal, Map, mapping, maps, media, Memory, Mexico, Middle East, Migrant Workers, Migration, Miniature Painting, Minimalism, minjung movement, Minority Demographic Studies, mixed media, mixed-media, MOCA, Model Opera, modern art, Modernism, modernity, mongolia, mourning, Moving Image, multi-media art, multiculturalism, multimedia, multimedia art, Murals, Museum studies, Museums, Music, muslim, Myanmar, Myanmar (Burma), mythology, nationalism, Nations, Nepal, net art, New Enlightenment Movement, new media, New Media Art, New York City, North Africa, nostalgia, oil, oil painting, Oral Histories, Organization, orientalism, painting, paintings, Pakistan, Pakistani, participatory, pattern, Pearl River Delta, peasant painting, Pedagogy, people, Perennial exhibition, Performa, Performance, performance art, Philippines, photo installation, photograph, photographs, Photography, Pidouhui, political pop, politics, Pond Society, Pop Culture, Pop Music, Portraiture, post colonialism, post-modernism, postcolonialism, postmodernism, Preservation, print, printmaking, prints, Propaganda, Protest, Public Art, Public Space, Publication, Publishing, race, Realism, religion, Research, Residencies, Revolution, Saudi Arabia, Sci-Fi, Science, Sculpture, Secrets, Shamanism, Singapore, Site Specific, slavery, Small Press, social histories, social realism, social sciences, social stratification, social theory, socialism, Socialist Realism, socially engaged art, sociology, sociopolitical, solo exhibition, Song Ling, Sonic Art, sound, Sound Art, sound installation, South Asia, South East Asia, south korea, Southeast Asia, spirituality, Sri Lanka, stereotypes, structural film, Sungari Auctions, Surveillance, System, Taiwan, technology, technology and spectatorship, Television, text, textile, Thailand, The, the Middle East, The Philippines, Theater, Tibet, Time, Time-Based Media, Tomato Grey, Tradition, trama, Translation, triennial, Tunisia, turkish, uncertainty, Under the Influence, United States, united states of america, Unity, urban planning, Urbanism, USA, Utopian, Uyghur, Vampires, Video, Video Art, Video Game, Vietnam, Violence, Virtual Reality, visual arts, visual culture, VR, War, water color, Water Rights, watercolor, watercolour painting, woman artist, women, women artist, women artists, wood, woodcut, woodcuts, writing, WWII, Xinjiang, yunnan school of painting, Zhang Peili, Zhejiang Academy, Zine

ARTISTS, CRITICS, CURATORS, AND OTHER CONTRIBUTORS

Aisha Khalid, Aki Onda, Aki Sasamoto, Alexander Keefe, Alexandra Chang, Alexandra Munroe, Alf Chang, Ali Van, Amy Lien, Amy WOOD, Annysa Ng, Anthony Tino, Anthony Yung, Arin Rungjang, Ashley Billingsley, Ashok Sukumaran, Bahar Behbahani, Bahar Behbani, Bani Abadi, Bani Abidi, Barbara London, Belinda Q. He, Benjamin Moskowitz, Beth Citron, Betsy Damon, Bing Lee, Birgit DONKER, Boon Hui Tan, Boris Groys, Brinda Kumar, Cai Guoqiang, CAMP, Cao Fei, Casey Tang, Chang Chao Tang, Chang Yuchen, Chen Chieh-jen, Chen Tong, Chen Wei-ching, Chen Xiaomei, Chihoi, China, Chitra Ganesh, Chris Wu, Christoph NOE, Christopher Ho, Christopher K. Ho, Christopher Phillips, Chương-Đài Võ, Cici Wu, Cooperativa Cráter Invertido, Cosmin Costinas, David Smith, Desire Machine Collective, Diana Campbell Betancourt, Dinh Q Le, dmp editions, Dooeun Choi, DREAMER FTY, Ei Arakawa, Eleanor Heartney, Elizabeth W. Giorgis, Enzo Camacho, EPOXY Art Group, Erin Gleeson, Eugene Wang, Fang Lu, Farah Wardani, Fei Dawei, FENG Yuan(馮原), Franklin Furnace, Frédéric Dialynas Sanchez, Fully Booked, Furen Dai, fwf, Gaku Tsutaja, Gao Shiming, Gianni Jetzer, Glenn Phillips, Go Hirasawa, Hajra Waheed, Hammad Nasar, Heman Chong, Herb Tam, Hiroko Tasaka, Hitomi Iwasaki, Ho Tzu Nyen, Hồng-Ân Trương, Howie Chen, Hsu Chia-Wei, Huang Chien-Hung, Huang Hua-Chen, Huang Po-chih, HUANG Xiaopeng, I-Hua Lee, Iftikhar Dadi, Il Lee, Ingrid Chu, Interference Archive, Jaeyong Park, Jaishri Abichandani, Jane DeBevoise, Jean Shin, Jean-Hubert Martin, Jen Hoyer, Jen Liu, Jennifer Davis, Jewyo Rhii, Joan Lebold Cohen, Joanne, John Pirozzi, John Tain, José Maceda, Julian Ross, Jun Yang, June Yap, Kaho Albert Yu, kate-hers RHEE, Katherine Grube, Kim Yong-Ik, Kimia Maleki, Kit Yi Wong, Koki Tanaka, Korakrit Arunanondchai, Laurel Ptak, Lê Thuận Uyên, Lee Kit, Lee Mingwei, Lee Weng Choy, Lesley Ma, Levi Easterbrooks, Li Ming, Li Ran, Li Shi, Li Xiaofei, Liang Jianhua, Lin Yilin, Linda Huang, LinDa Saphan, Lisa Ross, Liu Ding, Liu Shiyuan, Louiza Ho, Lynn Gumpert, Lyno Vuth, Maika Pollack, Maline Yim, Mao Chenyu, MAP Office, Margaret Lee, Margo Machida, Mariam Ghani, Martha Wilson, Marvin Taylor, media art, Meghan Forbes, Meiya Cheng, Mel Bochner, Miao Ying, Michelle Wong, Michelle Yun, Midori Yoshimoto, Ming Fay, Minoru Yoshida, Miwako Tezuka, Moe Satt, Morgan Wong, Mukaddas Mijit, Murtaza Vali, Museum of Unknown, Nadim Abbas, Naeem Mohaiemen, Nate Hun, new media, Nico Baumbach, Nikhil Raunak, Nonny de la Peña, Nora Taylor, nos:books, Ocean Leung, Onejoon Che, Ou Ning, Pad.ma, Pak Sheung Chuen, Pan An-yi, Park Chankyong, Passenger Pigeon Press, Patty Chang, photography, Pi Li, Polit-Sheer-Form Office, Prem Krishnamurthy, Qiu Anxiong, Qiu Deshu, Qiu Zhijie, Rabbya Naseer, Rania Ho, Raqs Media Collective, Rebecca Karl, Reiko Tomii, Richard Vine, Rina Banerjee, Risha Lee, Rob Smith, Roslisham Ismail a.k.a. Ise, Ruijun Shen, Ryan Lee Wong, Saadia Toor, Sabih Mohd Ahmed, Sadya Mizan, Sam Hart, Samita Sinha, Samsom Young, Samson Young, Sareth Svay, Sean Anderson, Sen Uesaki, Shaina Anand, Shanta Rao, Sharmini Pereira, Shauba Chang, Shen Xin, Shiraga Kazuo, Shuddhabrata Sengupta, Simon Leung (梁碩恩), Simon Wu, Sming Sming Books, Sohl Lee, Son Ni, Song Dong, Sopheap Pich, Stephanie Comilang, Stephanie H. Tung, Stephen Teiser, Su Hui-Yu, Su Yu-Hsien, Sung Hwan Kim, Sunghee Lee, Svetlana Kharchenkova, Tabaimo, Takahiko Iimura, Takako Tanabe, Takeshi Ikeda, Tammy Nguyen, Tang Kwok Hin, Taro Hanaga, Teresa Kwong, The Dunhuang Foundation, The Otolith Group, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Tiffany Chung, Tishan Hsu, Tobias Madison, Tom Looser, Trần Minh Đức, Uli Sigg, Umber Majeed, video art, Việt Lê, Vivian Sming, Wang Jianwei, Wang Jing, Wang Wei, Wang Xu, Waterfall, William LIM, Work on Work, Wu Shanzhuan, Xiaoyu Weng, Xie Xiaoze, Xin Wang, Xu Bing, Xu Tan, YANG Jiechang, Yang Wang, Yin Xiuzhen, Ying Kwok, Yoon Hwan Bae, YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES, Yu Cheng-Ta, Yung MA, Zhang Hongtu, Zhang Peili, Zheng Shengtian, Zhenzhen Qi, Zhou Tao, Ziying Duan, Zoe Butt