1989 - 1990
The year that marks the end of the Cold War
can be said to mark
the “end” of post-modernism and
the “beginning” of global culture
Berlin Wall, begun in August 13, 1961 when the GDR (German Democratic Republic, 1949-
1990) under the leadership of Erich Honecker to block off East Berlin and the GDR from West
Berlin by means of barbed wire and antitank obstacles. Construction crews replaced the
provisional barriers by a solid wall.
Keith Haring painting the Berlin Wall, 1986, at the
invitation of the Checkpoint Charlie museum
Nelson Mandela and F.W. De Klerk were international symbols of apartheid. As a
leader of the African National Congress and a participant in the struggle to
overthrow apartheid, Mandela spent more than 25 years as a political prisoner.
When De Klerk assumed the presidency of South Africa in September 1989, he
began to change the system of apartheid and abolish discriminatory laws. On
February 11, 1990, De Klerk released Mandela from prison.
F.W. De Klerk and Nelson Mandela
Tiananmen Square, Beijing
April 15 – June 4 1989
Students demanding dialogue
Goddess of Democracy, 33 ft tall,
paper mâché and foam over a metal
armature, built by students of
the Central Academy of Fine Arts,
Beijing in four days, beginning May
Student camp Tiananmen Square
Modern – Contemporary China
• The People's Republic of China was established on
October 1, 1949 under Mao
• The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China,
1966-1976: Socialist Realism imposed
• After the death of Mao (1976) and the rise of Deng
Xiaoping the art universities and the art academies,
closed during the Cultural Revolution, reopened in the
their first graduates came out in the early 80s.These
artists believed they had creative freedom until 1989
when freedom of expression was violently suppressed.
"The People's Liberation Army of China is a grand school of Mao Tse-tung Thought"
To carry the Great Revolution of
Proletarian Culture out to the End, 1972 Work Hard for Speeding Up the Modernization
Of Agricultural Machinery, 1972
during The Great
Revolution in China,
Work Hard to Realize the Fourth Five
Quotations of Mao,1967 Year Plan of National Economy, 1972
The development of avant-garde Chinese art after 1976
Experimental art existed underground by the mid 1970s, with the avant
garde emerging openly in 1985. Its development has been closely
related to China’s social and economical transformation. Artists who
emigrated out of China in the 1980s and 1990s were key participants in
the early avant-garde movements and have continued to interact with
the mainland art world.
Tensions of capitalist communism – market boom and censorship
Wang Guangyi (b. 1957, Harbin, China, based in Beijing), Coca-Cola, 1990-
1993, Great Criticism Series. Political Pop
Wang Guangyi, Mao No 1, oil on canvas, 59 x 141 inches, 1988.
Zhang Xiaogang (b. Kunming, China, 1958. Lives in Beijing),
Bloodline, The Big Family No. 2, 1995, Sichuan school
“We live in a big family, the first thing we learn is how to shut ourselves up in
a secret small cell and pretend to keep step with all the other members of the
Zhang Xiaogang, Amnesia and Anamnesis, Shanghai Biennale, 2004
"On the surface the faces in these portraits appear as calm as still water, but
underneath there is great emotional turbulence. Within this state of conflict
the propagation of obscure and ambiguous destinies is carried on from
generation to generation."
Fang Lijun (Chinese, b. 1963, lives in Shanghai) Series 2 No 2, 1991-1992, oil on
canvas, 6 ½ ft square. “Cynical Realism”
Fang Lijun, Series 2 No. 6, 1991-1992, oil on canvas, 6 ½ ft square
Fang Lijun, Series 2 No. 7, 1991-1992, oil on canvas, 6 ½ ft square
Fang Lijun, Untitled, Museum of Modern Art, NYC Installation view, woodcut, 2002
Yue Minjun (China b. 1962), Red No. 1, 1999, oil, 16 x 12 in
(right) Yue Minjun in his studio
Yue Minjun Farmer, 1997, oil on canvas,59 in H
The Laughing Proud of Gleeful Fools #2, 29 x 22.5 inches, silkscreen, 17 x 30 in, 1999
(above) Yue Minjun, Execution, oil on canvas, 1995.
Bought in 1995 for $5,000; sold at London Sotheby’s in
2007 for $5.9 million. What strategies of (global)
contemporary art are deployed?
(right) Edouard Manet, Execution of Maximilian,
1867 (an appropriation of Goya’s Third of May,
Gu Wenda (b. 1955 Shanghai) 1987 moved to US. Currently lives in NYC and
Shanghai. United Nations: The Bable of the Millennium, 1999, human hair glued
onto a sheer curtain in pseudo-English, Chinese, Hindi and Arabic characters, 75
x 34 feet, San Franciso Museum of Modern Art.
Gu Wenda, Heavenly Lanterns--Tea House, Brussels, Belgium, 2009
Xu Bing (China, b. 1955) A Book from the Sky
National Gallery of Canada, 1998
Gallery visitors in Beijing attempt to
read the nonsense characters Printing blocks for A Book from the Sky
on the printed scrolls of A Book from
Xu Bing in his studio hand carving the characters for A Book from the Sky.
An original printing block for
A Book from the Sky.
Ai Weiwei (Beijing, 1957),
Sunflower Seeds, Unilever
Series, Tate Modern,
London, October 12, 2010 - May
Over 100 million hand painted
Ai Weiwei was taken into custody by Chinese police on April 3, 2011.
Post-Colonial Post-Modern painting
Shahzia Sikander (b. Lahore, Pakistan, 1969), Venice Biennale 2005, SpiNN, 2003
Installation: DVD large screen projection
Sikander in Venice with
“This is what interests me as an artist: how you can create work
that somehow transcends place and time.”
Sikander, What is Under the Blouse? What is Under the Dress?, 1997, vegetable color,
dry pigment, watercolor, and tea on hand-prepared wasli paper, 9 ¼ x 5 in.
Sikander in NYC studio, 2001
(left) Manohar, Portrait of Akbar the Great, miniature painting of the Mughal emperor
(right) Shahzia Sikander, Intimacy, 2001, watercolor, dry pigment, vegetable color, tea,
and ink on hand-prepared wasli paper, 11 x 8 ½ in.
(right) Rajput (Hindu) miniature painting of the Army of Tamerlane
storming the walls of the Rajput city of Bhatnair in 1398
British Rule in India between 1776-1947 A.D). In 1947 independent (Islamic) state of
Pakistan gained independence from (Hindu) India
The Pre-Colonial Indian Subcontinent, 1000-1500
Sikander, installation at the Renaissance Society, U of Chicago, 1998
Shahzia Sikander, Pleasure Pillars, 2001, watercolor, dry pigment,
vegetable color, tea, and ink on hand-prepared wasli paper, 12 x 10 in.
What contemporary art strategy is deployed here by Sikander?