Cao Fei, Whose Utopia, 2006 (still).
Bracketed by the end of the student protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989 and the Beijing Olympics in 2008, Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World presents works by more than sixty artists and artists’ groups that anticipated, chronicled, and agitated for the sweeping social transformation that saw the rise of China as a global power in the new millennium. The exhibition examines conceptually based performances, paintings, photographs, installations, videos, and socially engaged projects that question consumerism, authoritarianism, and the rapid development transforming society and China’s role in the world, placing their experiments firmly in a global art-historical context. The artists serve as both skeptics of and catalysts for the massive changes unfolding around them, and their work continues to inspire new thinking at a moment when questions of identity, equality, ideology, and control have pressing relevance.
(Photo courtesy of SFMOMA.)