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Beyond The Cynical

China avant-garde in the 1990s

Hou Hanru

ZHANG HUAN, 12m2, May 13, 1994, Beijing. Photograph Ai Weiwei.

The spectacular recent economic boom in China has brought interesting shifts and changes to the cultural and everyday life of Chinese society. While a new mass entertainment culture is encouraged by both the political authority and the newly born consumer society, intellectual idealism and creative freedom continue to be oppressed by the official ideological machine. For avant-garde artists, coping with such fundamental change presents the most pressing challenge today.

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