Friday May 2
The Shanghai Museum of Art has very recently moved to the Chinese Pavilion at the Expo site, and it was fabulous! The building is stunning, and the exhibits were captivating – especially the traditional Chinese water/ink paintings and the international photography sections. The people watching was extraordinary.
Groups of Chinese would take turns photographing each other in front of the large sculptures (mostly of military and work themes). And despite the sign that said “DO NOT TOUCH” in English and Chinese, a huge number of them touched anyway. Same thing goes for the guy who tried to stop people for photographing in certain sections. As soon as he turned his back, they took pictures.
This huge painting commemorating Nixon’s visit and opening up relationships (Kissinger on the left). Almost all of the art was clear in its message and purpose. None of the pieces left you baffled, shocked, or (God forbid) questioning. Not surprising if you think about what artists have endured historically in China.
The following timelines and paintings are from exhibitions of single artists. In each case, the timeline of the artists’ lives recorded that they were persecuted during the cultural revolution (1966-1976). Many artists destroyed their own works, and many were imprisoned or “re-educated” through labor camps.
Here’s what the artists’ timelines looked like. Actually impressive that the sad actions of the past were clearly acknowledged. Maybe you can’t read the text on this blog, but in each case you learn of persecution and destroyed art in the 60’s.