A Cultural Revolution

A portfolio of significant works from China's contemporary-art boom
Photo
BLOODLINES: MY BIG FAMILY, 1994,
Oil on canvas, 69 x 89 in
Zhang Xiaogang (born 1958) is one of the world’s most financially successful artists. A figurative oil painter, he is one of four artists (along with Fang Lijun, Yue Minjun, and Wang Guangyi) whose work has dominated the recent auction boom. Half of the top 10 lots in Sotheby’s March 21 sale of contemporary Asian art were by Zhang, and four of those five works came from his Bloodlines series, among the most recognizable works of recent Chinese art. Begun in the early 1990s, Bloodlines features smoothly rendered portraits of “families” (generally two parents, one child) or “comrades,” with the poignantly dispassionate look of the sitters in old photographs. Recently Zhang has begun experimenting with photography.
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Britta Erickson is an independent scholar and curator who focuses on contemporary Chinese art. She has taught at Stanford University and has curated major exhibitions at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, in Washington, D.C., and at Stanford's Cantor Arts Center.

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