Chinese artists in their 20s and 30s seem to have escaped the growing repression in China, perhaps because the censors have no idea what to make of their work. As Pollack reveals, they are linked as much to Berlin, Miami, and New York as to Beijing and Shanghai, and as much to the Internet, animation, and performance as to paint and wood. They make fresh use of images and techniques from all over the world and from many different historical periods. They do not feel compelled to focus on the totalitarian past or the enduring puzzle of what it means to be Chinese, as the first post-Mao generation of modern Chinese artists did. But China and its problems keep tugging at them. To avoid politics is to be political; to produce unique work is to join a trend; to call oneself “an artist from China” (as this younger generation prefers to do) instead of “a Chinese artist” is to comment on being Chinese today. Along with this analysis, Pollack offers plenty of sharp biographical and aesthetic insights. The book’s illustrations leave the reader eager for more contemporary Chinese art.
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