A Cultural Revolution

A portfolio of significant works from China's contemporary-art boom
Photo
BOOK FROM THE SKY, 1987-1991,
Hand-printed books, ceiling and wall scrolls from false letter blocks,
Installation view at the Elvehjem Museum of Art, Madison, WI, 1991
Xu Bing (born 1955) took the Beijing art scene by storm with his Book From the Sky (1987–1991), an installation of books and scrolls printed with invented characters­—also pictured on pages 6–7. Critics now recognize it as one of the most important works of 20th-century Chinese art. Xu left China in the wake of the Tiananmen Square massacre and has had tremendous international success.
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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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