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Department of the History of Art and Archaeology

Art and Culture in Modern China

Course Code:
154900141
Status:
Course Not Running 2014/2015
Unit value:
0.5
Year of study:
Year 2 or Year 3
Taught in:
Term 2
This half-unit course will provide an overview of developments in the visual arts in China from the end of the imperial period in 1911 to the present day, and will relate them to broader changes in Chinese culture. It will look at the ways in which the material forms and contexts of art, as well as the social roles of its makers and audiences, change over this period, and will study a broad range of visual materials, from painting in ‘traditional’ and ‘western’ formats, through performance and installation art, to graphics, photography and craft work.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

The course will provide an overview of developments in the visual arts in China from the end of the imperial period in 1911 to the present day, and will relate them to broader changes in Chinese culture

At the end of the course, students will:

  • understand how the material forms and contexts of art, as well as the social roles of its makers and audiences, change over this period
  • be familiar with a broad range of visual materials, from painting in ‘traditional’ and ‘western’ formats, through performance and installation art, to graphics, photography and craft work
  • have an understanding of the relationship of the visual arts to political developments in China since 1911
  • be aware of some historiographical issues relevant to the material
  • have the ability to situate these visual materials in relation to some of the developments elsewhere in Chinese culture and society at this time

Students should also advance their ability to:

  • construct an argument in both oral and written form
  • research a topic and construct a bibliography
  • assimilate new material to relevant theories and methods in the history of art

Scope and syllabus

The syllabus will cover the period since 1911 through study of the following ten topics:

  1. Introduction to the course: China and modernity
  2. The Meeting of the East and the West
  3. Visual Cultures in the Metropolis: Advertising, Design and Photography
  4. Art and resistance in wartime China: the woodcut print
  5. The institutions of the art world in the PRC
  6. A Visual Cultural Revolution? – Chinese art 1966-1976
  7. ‘Scar Art’ and painting after the Cultural Revolution
  8. The Avant-garde in an Era of Reform: the 1980s
  9. Art Enters a New Age: the 1990s and beyond
  10. Globalisation and the consumption of ‘new Chinese art’ in the West

Method of assessment

2 essays of 1,500 words each = 30%/exam= 70%

Suggested reading

Suggested Reading

  • Andrews, Julia F. and Shen, Kuiyi, A Century in Crisis: Modernity and Tradition in the Art of Twentieth-Century China (New York: Guggenheim Museum, 1998)
  • Andrews, Julia et al., Between Thunder and the Rain: Chinese Paintings from the Opium War through the Cultural Revolution, 1840-1979, (San Francisco, 2000)
  • Andrews, Julia F., Painters and Politics in the People's Republic of China 1949-1979 (Berkeley, 1994)
  • Clark, John ed., Modernity in Asian Art (Broadway NSW, 1993)
  • Evans, Harriet and Donald, Stephanie (eds.), Picturing Power in the People’s Republic of China: Posters of the Cultural Revolution (Oxford, 1999)
  • Fong, Wen C., Between Two Cultures: Late-Nineteenth- and- Early-Twentieth-Century Chinese
  • Painting from the Robert H. Ellsworth Collection. (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2001.)
  • Kuo, Jason, ed. Visual Culture in Shanghai, 1850s–1930s. Washington, D.C.: New Academia, 2007
  • Ledderose, Lothar. Ten Thousand Things: Module and Mass Production in Chinese Art. Princeton, 2000.
  • Sullivan, Michael, Art and Artists of Twentieth-century China (Berkeley, 1996)
  • Tang, Xiaobing, Origins of the Chinese Avante-Garde: The Modern Woodcut Movement. (University of California Press, 2008)
  • Wu, Hung, Transience: Chinese Experimental Art at the End of the Century (Chicago, 1999)
Exhibitions students taking this course are strongly encouraged to visit: