The author fills three roles in one: an art historian, an art critic, and a participant in the art development in China. The book is organized chronologically in six chapters: Visual Utopia: Art in the Seventeen Years (1949-1966); Anti-Culture: Art of Cultural Revolution (1966-1976); Truth, Virtue and Beauty: Art in the Post-Cultural Revolution (1977-1984); An Art Hurricane: The Avant-Garde Movement (1985-1989); Art Under Impact of Globalization (1989-1999); Institutionalization and Identity of Contemporary Art (2000-Present). The sixth chapter includes the first two decades of this century, and it is also the longest chapter in the book. It discusses the two key words: institutionalization and identity. Compared with other books exploring Chinese modern and contemporary art history published overseas in the last decade, this book is the only one that carries out a comprehensive research on the entire seventy years after the founding of the People's Republic of China.
ZHOU Yan, critic, B.A. in Philosophy, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China; M.A. in Art History, Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, China; Ph.D. in Art History, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA. He has co-authored A History of Chinese Contemporary Art: 1985-1986 (1991, Chinese), authored Cultural Odyssey: Wenda Gu and His Art (2015, English), written a series of critical articles on Chinese art and culture (in Chinese and English), and translated Art and Illusion (Gombrich) and the Power of the Center (Arnheim) into Chinese. He was involved in the China’s Avant-Garde movement of the 1980s, and co-organized the exhibition China/Avant-Garde at the National Art Museum of China, Beijing (1989). He is currently working as an adjunct Professor at Kenyon College, Ohio, USA, and teaching courses on the history of modern and contemporary Chinese art, as well as a survey of the history of Chinese painting. A monograph, A History of Contemporary Chinese Art: 1949 to Present (English), has been published in July 2020.