Survival tactics within Cold War ideologies : Post-Mao artists on the tides of globalization

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This chapter examines how artists in post-Mao China developed survival tactics within Cold War ideologies. I suggest that the Cold War divide between liberal democracy and socialism has been replaced by an ideological divide between China and the United States—a shift that has deeply impacted the strategies of visual artists. The 1980s saw China adopt a hybrid system of dominance in a capitalist economy without converting to liberal democracy. The internationalization of art relies at least partly on its rhetoric about freedom and Post-Mao artists have been forging implicit critiques of both authoritarian socialist and neoliberal values, as revealed by the flexible use of symbols and the appropriation of political rhetoric. I examine works by Wang Guangyi, Polit-Sheer-Form office, and Song Ta that demonstrate struggles with unique forms of socialism and its coopting of neoliberal values. The complexity and flexibility of these artistic vocabularies demonstrate how capitalism and socialism intertwine in contemporary Chinese art after 1989.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationVisual Representations of the Cold War and Postcolonial Struggles : Art in East and Southeast Asia
EditorsMidori YAMAMURA, Yu-Chieh LI
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9781000405859
ISBN (Print)9780367615291
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jun 2021


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