Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

Ashmolean − Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

Cultural Revolution: State Graphics in China in the 1960s and 1970s (I) - exhibition now online

8 April 2011

In 1942 Mao Zedong declared that all art and literature should serve politics first and art second. This policy was implemented for nearly four decades, most rigorously during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976).

In that period, the appearance of individual expression in works of art was discouraged and denounced. Cinema, theatre and musical performances were limited to a handful of ‘model’ productions imposed by Mao’s wife Jiang Qing. Paintings and calligraphy were mostly produced collaboratively or anonymously. Visual imagery of the leader and his state propaganda appeared everywhere – on large posters or small papercuts, and on items of everyday use. Sources for the images included both traditional Chinese compositions and Soviet socialist motifs. The printed, woven, modelled and cut examples in this exhibition were all collected in China between 1968 and 1979.

Eastern Art Online now presents an extended version of the Cultural Revolution exhibition, providing additional information about the works on display in the Ashmolean's Eastern Art Paintings and Prints Gallery, including zoom-able high-resolution images . This is the first of a two-part exhibition, the second part planned for July 2011.

After the physical display of the the first part of the exhibition comes down in the Museum in July 2011, the online exhibition will remain online indefinitely, as an archived resource that can continue to be explored.

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