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Many people in the West can recognise an image of Mao Zedong (1894–1976) and know that he was an important Chinese leader, but few appreciate the breadth and depth of his political and cultural significance. Fewer still know what the Chinese Cultural Revolution (1966–76) was, or understand the extent of its influence on art in the West or in China today. This anthology, which is the first of its kind, contends that Maoism and the Chinese Cultural Revolution were dominant cultural and political forces in the second half of the twentieth century – and that they continue to exert influence, globally, right up to the present. In particular, the book claims that the Chinese Cultural Revolution deserves a more prominent place in twentieth-century art history. Exploring the dimensions of Mao’s cultural influence through case studies, and delineating the core of his aesthetic programme, in both the East and the West, constitute the heart of this project. While being rooted in the tradition of social art history and history, the essays, which have been written by an international community of scholars, foreground a distinctively multidisciplinary approach. Collectively they account for local, regional and national differences in the reception, adoption and dissemination of – or resistance to – Maoist aesthetics.

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The art of contradiction
Jacopo Galimberti, Noemi de Haro García and Victoria H. F. Scott

Introduction: the art of contradiction Jacopo Galimberti, Noemi de Haro García and Victoria H. F. Scott Contradiction is present in the process of development of all things; it permeates the process of development of each thing from beginning to end. Mao Zedong, ‘On Contradiction’, 19371 Art and images were and continue to be central channels for the transnational circulation and reception of Maoism. While there are several books about the significance of Mao Zedong and the Chinese Cultural Revolution, this collection, featuring seventeen chapters by

in Art, Global Maoism and the Chinese Cultural Revolution
A historical perspective
Yan Geng

political voice.’5 This chapter addresses the problem Chang Tsong-zung raised and considers China’s contemporary art from a historical perspective. In his study of Stalinist art, Boris Groys argues that socialist realism did not abandon the avant-garde project but radicalised what avant-garde itself was unable to accomplish.6 Similarly, Barbara Mittler identifies the traditional Chinese and Western elements in the production of propaganda during the Cultural Revolution (1966–76) and suggests considering Maoist art ‘as one development in the broader attempt to create a new

in Art, Global Maoism and the Chinese Cultural Revolution
Three visions of making China great again
Stefan R. Landsberger

-Leninism, applied to the Chinese conditions in the form of Mao Zedong Thought. The CCP needed to convince the population that establishing socialism was the solution.1 This was not an unprecedented task, but art and government had never been more intertwined than in the early 1950s.2 Like most of the ruling elites that had preceded it over the millennia, the party was obsessively concerned with guiding the morals and 1 16 Art, Global Maoism and the Cultural Revolution behaviour of the population and educating the people. The political and moral exhortations and messages were

in Art, Global Maoism and the Chinese Cultural Revolution
Colette Gaiter

resistance against Western imperialism and 5 88 Art, Global Maoism and the Cultural Revolution capitalism to people across the world and created a ‘global village’ of dissent.3 Posters were cheap, accessible, simple and direct, usually combining motivational images and text. Since the Black Panthers pasted posters on empty outdoor walls in black communities, readers did not have to leave their neighbourhoods to see them and, for twenty-five cents, could buy a copy of the Black Panther and put its back-page poster on their own walls. Douglas’s work was a kind of Pop art

in Art, Global Maoism and the Chinese Cultural Revolution
Victoria H. F. Scott

different tack, and explores instead the dialectical tension between art and propaganda. 17 326 Art, Global Maoism and the Cultural Revolution The relationship of art to copying is fundamental. In the Judaeo-Christian tradition God made the first man, who is described as the first sculpture.3 Sculpture was considered by no less of an artist than Michelangelo to be the principal art form, as ‘divine making’, whereas painting came second, specifically because of the ease with which, unlike sculpture, it could be reproduced.4 In the Renaissance, painting was associated

in Art, Global Maoism and the Chinese Cultural Revolution
Jacopo Galimberti

trade unions. 11 214 11.1  Art, Global Maoism and the Cultural Revolution La Rivoluzione (February 1977), 1 Maoism, Dadaism and Mao-Dadaism The text praised the workers’ ‘sacrifices’ which had been necessitated by the post-oil-crisis phase that was marked by austerity and unemployment in Italy. The manifesto went on to make a dramatic plea for hard work and religion as panacea for ‘the evils’ affecting ‘the youth’, notably ‘drugs’ and ‘pederasty’. In the articles of political analysis the fanzine departed from this parodist tone. It emphasised the hallucinatory

in Art, Global Maoism and the Chinese Cultural Revolution
Allison Myers

characteristics using concepts taken from the developing fields of French structuralism and post-structuralism. Many of them were prolific writers, and the artists’ texts and material practices coalesced around the deconstruction of binaries within the language of painting – the foremost of which was indicated in the group’s name. The shift to a Marxist, and then later Maoist, rhetoric was not far, especially in the highly politicised context of French intellectual circles at the end 8 150 Art, Global Maoism and the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s. Dialectical materialism

in Art, Global Maoism and the Chinese Cultural Revolution
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Chinese representation at the Venice Biennale (1993–2003)
Estelle Bories

, Global Maoism and the Cultural Revolution The invitation by the then president of the Venice Biennale, Rodolfo Pallucchini, to the Chinese artist was a source of diplomatic tensions. The representation of Qi Baishi at a cultural event of international significance happened at the same time as relations between Italy and China were officially interrupted, and posed problems for the cultural relations between the two countries. Pallucchini chose to circumvent the difficulty by insisting on the strictly private nature of the invitation: the exhibition was not to be

in Art, Global Maoism and the Chinese Cultural Revolution
Feminist aesthetics and ‘The Red Room for Vietnam’
Elodie Antoine

practice in its review Peinture: Cahiers Théoriques (1970–75). 7 130 Art, Global Maoism and the Cultural Revolution The goal of this chapter is to explore the effects of Mao Zedong Thought on the artists working in France for whom 1968 was a defining moment. It will specifically focus on the role played by women artists in these collectives, and on the representations of women in their artworks. Can we realistically speak of Maoist aesthetics? What specific cultural, political and social revolutions were these artists committed to, at a time when many emancipatory

in Art, Global Maoism and the Chinese Cultural Revolution