Chinese Contemporary Art

Mo 6:00PM - 8:30PM / 204 Frick Fine Arts Building / CRN 30304

The aim of this course is to offer an introduction to the history of modern and contemporary Chinese art, especially focusing on art since the 1970s. The course begins with a brief introduction of the beginning of modern art in China in the early 20th century and Mao’s Socialist Realist art from the late 1940s to the late 1970s. It then will focus on the avant-garde movements in the 1970s and 1980s, the response to urbanization in art at the turn of the 20th Century, and the influence of globalization since 2000.     

Since the instructor has been involved inthe criticism, curatorial work and writing of the history of Chinese contemporary art since the 1980s, the course will bring his experience to the students in lectures and class discussions. In this course we will examine many primary documents including rich images of artworks, posters, videos and experimental films selected from Gao Minglu’s contemporary art archive collected over the last three decades. The weekly assigned readings will help student to understand lectures and also aid them in class discussion.   
This course will investigate how rapid political, economic, and cultural changes have profoundly impacted the development of contemporary Chinese art since the end of the Cultural Revolution. The course will also examine how Chinese artists have engaged in the cultural confrontation and negotiation between modernity and tradition, the East and the West, and the global and local in their art practice. The course attempts to provide a close view and a better understanding of the current state of both art and society in China. 

Number of Credits


Minglu Gao

Course Term


Course Category

Category D: Designated Courses

Course Year