China Wants Its Urban Artists to Head for the Countryside

Factory 798 has become one of China's most celebrated contemporary art districts. (Courtesy of Yue Zhang)

Factory 798 has become one of China’s most celebrated contemporary art districts. (Courtesy of Yue Zhang)

Yue Zhang, former GCI scholar and associate professor of political science, is quoted by CityLab, the urban section of The Atlantic, in an article on urban and art issues in China. The story, which explores a new Chinese government program that sends artists to rural communities, also cites a study by Zhang.

A recent study emphasizes that the success of Factory 798—and Beijing’s growing art culture more broadly—can be traced to China’s acquiescence to the forces of globalization. China’s economic and military prowess was unquestionable by the late 20th century. But in order to gain world influence culturally, says Yue Zhang, a scholar and author of the new report, China needed to loosen the reins on their artists.

“Artists and art districts are often at the fore of urban changes,” and “Chinese artists are empowered by globalization,” Zhang explains in her study. “[T]he government has changed its attitude towards the art community from recurrent suppression to limited tolerance in order to create a better global image for itself.”

Full Story from CityLab »

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