Robert Rauschenberg and the Politics of Appropriation: Revisiting ROCI Beijing in 1985

Activity: Talks or PresentationsOther Invited Talks or Presentations


The Beijing iteration of Rauschenberg's Overseas Culture Interchange (ROCI) in 1985 is a legendary exhibition in the history of Post-Mao Chinese art. Artists and curators in China have told different stories about its reception—as an "enlightenment" to (he art scene in the 1980s and an imperialist project during the Cold War. Drawing from archival materials, this talk examines the ripple effect of ROCI and the failure of cross-cultural exchange. I argue that ROCI instigated early critique against Eurocentrism, and further pushed Chinese artists to employ the politics and techniques of appropriation, which became a creative force of avant-garde in the 1980s. As an early art project with a "global" vision, this incident also reveals a tension and a transition between Hie socialist legacy and neoliberal globalization.
Period1 Mar 2021