Post-Mao Dreaming: Chinese Contemporary Art is supported by the Brown Foundation, Inc., of Houston.

The exhibition is accompanied by a richly illustrated catalogue, made possible with the financial support of an anonymous donor.

Post-Mao Dreaming: Chinese Contemporary Art celebrates recent additions to the SCMA collection. As suggested by the title of the exhibition, these works provide a window into the era when Chinese artists, emerging from the constraints of thirty years of Maoist Communism (1949–1979), began to reclaim their individuality. Joan Lebold Cohen and Jerome A. Cohen, as regular visitors to China beginning in the early 1970s, witnessed both the excessive restrictions of the late-Mao period and the gradually increasing freedom artists achieved. The artwork the Cohens collected and have now given to SCMA embodies a remarkable historical record.

Most of the works in the exhibition date to the late 1970s and early 1980s, a time of transition in Chinese art. The political thaw of this period allowed a shift from state-mandated socialist realism to the exploration of historical Chinese art forms (such as ink painting) that paralleled innovations in form and subject matter. Post-Mao Dreaming features works produced between 1971 and 2005 by key artists of the period, representing both the reclamation of tradition and the breaking of new artistic ground. Post-Mao Dreaming commemorates the recent gifts from the Joan Lebold Cohen and Jerome A. Cohen collection as it also recognizes other gifts of Chinese contemporary art that have enriched our holdings. Works generously donated by Andrew Kim and Wan Kyun Rha Kim, class of 1960, and Ethan Cohen are also featured in the exhibition and expand the view it offers of a crucial period in Chinese art.


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