Art and China at the Guggenheim

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Art and China at the Guggenheim

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is having a wonderful new exhibit, “Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World, a major exhibition of contemporary art from China spanning 1989 to 2008 is arguably the most transformative period of modern Chinese and recent world history.  I was very anxious to see this exhibit as I love China and all things Chinese and it didn’t disappoint.  In fact, I’m returning this weekend to see it more closely and spend more time enjoying it.  And it certainly is enjoyable.  This is a fresh interpretive survey of Chinese experimental art framed by the geopolitical dynamics resulting from the end of the Cold War, the spread of globalization, and the rise of China.  This is on view until January 7.

The exhibition, the largest of its kind ever in North America, looks at a bold contemporary art movement that anticipated, chronicled, and agitated for the sweeping social transformation that has brought China to the center of the global conversation.  It examines how Chinese artists have been both critical observers and agents of China’s emergence as a global presence and places their experiments firmly in a global art-historical context.

Occupying the Guggenheim’s full rotunda and two Tower Galleries, it highlights the artistic achievements of 71 artists and collectives and features nearly 150 significant works on loan from private and public collections as well as from the Museum’s own collection.

Encompassing a diversity of artistic practices over two decades, the exhibition showcases performances, paintings, photography, installations, video art and socially engaged participatory art and activism.  It’s really well worth setting aside a goodly amount of time to really see and take it all in.

Miriam Silverberg is a freelance journalist and owner of Miriam Silverberg Associates, a boutique publicity agency in Manhattan. She may be reached at

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