Gu Xiong: Art in Turmoil: The Chinese Cultural Revolution 1966-76

The Cultural Revolution was a massive social and political upheaval resulting from a battle for supremacy within the ruling Chinese Communist Party, set in motion by the party’s chairman Mao Zedong. It was also a time of both brutal iconoclasm and radical experimentation in the arts, the effects of which still resonate today.

Forty years after the Cultural Revolution, Art in Turmoil revisits the visual and performing arts of the period – the paintings, propaganda posters, political cartoons, sculpture, folk arts, private sketchbooks, opera, and ballet. Probing deeply, it examines what these vibrant, militant, often gaudy images meant to artists, their patrons, and their audiences at the time, and what they mean now, both in their original forms and as revolutionary icons reworked for a new market-oriented age.

Chapters by scholars of Chinese history and art and by artists whose careers were shaped by the Cultural Revolution decode the rhetoric of China’s turbulent decade. The many illustrations in the book, some familiar and some never seen before, also offer new insights into works that have transcended their times.

This book will be of interest to China scholars and students of cultural politics and art history.

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