News - Two new projects further understanding of Chinese contemporary art

The Asia Art Archive (AAA) and New York's Museum of Modern Art are celebrating the completion of two documentary projects to further a deeper understanding of the history of contemporary Chinese art: AAA’s Materials of the Future: Documenting Contemporary Chinese Art from 1980-1990 and MoMA’s publication of Contemporary Chinese Art: Primary Documents. The two organizations will co-launch both projects in major cities in China and in New York this fall with a series of public programs.


The 1980s have been a seminal period in China’s recent art history. During that time, many of China’s most celebrated artists attended art academies, held their first exhibitions, and developed the intellectual foundation for the art practices that have contributed to their present success. In order to foster research into this transformative moment in Chinese history, AAA has undertaken a four year focused archiving project; collecting, indexing and preserving rare documentary and primary source materials. As a result, AAA has collected hundreds of texts published during the 1980s, completed 75 video-taped interviews, produced a documentary film, and digitized the personal archives of renowned artists and curators. This scholarly resource will be freely accessible and open to the public from AAA’s physical premises as well as through a dedicated web portal www.china1980s.org starting September.

Despite the liveliness and creativity of avant-garde Chinese art in the post-Mao era and its prominence in the world of international contemporary art, a systematic introduction to this important work in any Western language was still lacking. Contemporary Chinese Art: Primary Documents remedies this situation by bringing together carefully selected texts translated in English. The documents included range from the manifestos of avant-garde groups, prefaces to important exhibitions, writings by representative artists, important critical, and analytical essays and others. Arranged in chronological order, the texts guide readers through the development of avant-garde Chinese art from 1976 until 2006.

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