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Pulping Herbert Read in a Washing-Machine

Nicholas Jose: Chinese art, 10 June 1999

Inside Out: New Chinese Art 
edited by Gao Minglu.
California, 223 pp., £35, November 1998, 0 520 21747 0
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Transience: Chinese Experimental Art at the End of the 20th Century 
by Wu Hung.
Chicago, 216 pp., £31.95, September 1999, 0 935573 27 5
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A Century in Crisis: Modernity and Tradition in the Art of 20th-Century China 
by Julia Andrews and Kuiyi Shen.
Abrams, 336 pp., $85, September 1998, 0 8109 6909 2
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... A large-scale social and artistic experiment that ‘transcended individual expression’ is how Wu Hung, another graduate of the Central Academy, and now a professor at the University of Chicago, recalls China/ Avant-Garde in Transience, the catalogue of the exhibition, in which he combines his exploration of experimental art in Beijing with oblique ...

Living Death

T.J. Clark: Among the Sarcophagi, 7 January 2010

... passed through? Here are two quotations. The first I encountered in a paper on Han sarcophagi by Wu Hung, and is drawn from Mr Lü’s Spring and Autumn Annals, completed in 239 BCE but representing a wisdom from a much more distant past. (Lü Buwei was chancellor in the years before China’s first emperor acceded to the throne. His Annals were ...

Monasteries into Motorways

Isabel Hilton: The Destruction of Lhasa, 7 September 2006

Lhasa: Streets with Memories 
by Robert Barnett.
Columbia, 219 pp., £16, March 2006, 0 231 13680 3
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... Again, in both cities, symbolic architecture has been appropriated and transformed. In Beijing, as Wu Hung describes in Remaking Beijing,* the creation of the vast square in front of Tiananmen – the southern gate to the Forbidden City and the place from which Mao Zedong read the proclamation of the founding of the People’s Republic of China ...

Among the Writers

Joanna Biggs: In Beijing, 10 May 2012

... Hanzhongmen Square, Nanjing. Washing was spread over hedges to dry, tiny dusty birds sang in cages hung from the branches of trees, dogs fought, babies were sung to by their grandmothers and a street-sweeper stopped to help a man lift an iron bar. That evening, as part of a group of journalists brought to China by the British Council to meet Chinese ...


Yun Sheng: Husband Shopping in Beijing, 11 October 2018

... tells the stories of five young Chinese feminists – Li Tingting, Wei Tingting, Zheng Churan, Wu Rongrong and Wang Man, the ‘Feminist Five’ – who were arrested in 2015 for ‘picking quarrels and provoking trouble’ after planning a demonstration against sexual harassment on public transport. They were released on bail a month later after the ...


Kerry Brown: The Cultural Revolution, 17 November 2016

... through the standard rituals of abasement: his house was searched, defamatory public posters were hung on the walls, then he was subjected to violent struggle sessions before finally being dispatched to the ‘cowshed’, a sort of makeshift prison. It is unclear from the book whether Ji was accused of a specific crime apart from the usual one of being a ...


Dick Wilson, 27 October 1988

Riding the Iron Rooster: By Train through China 
by Paul Theroux.
Hamish Hamilton, 494 pp., £14.95, September 1988, 0 241 12547 2
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Discos and Democracy: China in the Throes of Reform 
by Orville Schell.
Pantheon, 384 pp., $19.95, June 1988, 9780394568294
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The Star Raft: China’s Encounter with Africa 
by Philip Snow.
Weidenfeld, 250 pp., £14.95, June 1988, 0 297 79081 1
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Ancestors: Nine Hundred Years in the Life of a Chinese Family 
by Frank Ching.
Harrap, 528 pp., £12.95, September 1988, 0 245 54675 8
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... the Communist flag. In 1927 a Guomindang Ching even ordered the execution of a Communist Ching and hung his head from the city wall as a warning. Another Ching under the pseudonym of Bo Gu was for a time senior to Mao Zedong in the Communist Party Politburo. The result of this astonishing cult of family was to sharpen filial piety to an absurd degree. Frank ...

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