Segments in this Video

Chinese Contemporary Art: Introduction (04:08)


Chinese contemporary art has overtaken the United States as the main seller of paintings. Thierry Ehrmann describes how the Chinese personalized western influences. Examine paintings by Zhen Fanzi, Huang Zhiyang, and Yang Yongliang.

Loving the Communist Party (03:35)

The Chinese people compressed the Middle Ages, the advent of communism and the market economy within a few decades. Socialism did not influence artists from Taiwan and Hong Kong. After a three year famine caused by a mass-mobilization of labor, Mao Zedong announced a cultural revolution that destroyed many pieces of artwork.

Learning from Western Art (03:56)

Deng Xiaoping encouraged the arts to flourish again. Guo Jin explained Chinese artist's reactions to interpreting movements such as Dadaism, Impressionism, and Contemporary art at once. Artists describe the cultural renaissance that occurred during the 1980s.

China of Avant-Garde Exhibition (03:16)

In 1989, thousands of people flocked to see the work of 185 Chinese artists; the exhibition was closed three times for security reasons. Artists describe how the Tiananmen Square protests influenced their artwork.

After Tiananmen Square (02:48)

Artists created contemporary art in secrecy and describe how unsettled they felt after losing their identity.

A Chinese Identity (06:59)

Zhang Xiaogang started incorporated Chinese faces into his art. Zhang Dali returned from Italy and began painting a silhouette across Beijing. Artists explain how they found a new path after examining China's past.

Confronting Authorities (04:49)

Ai Weiwei describes how he became a symbol for the Chinese struggle towards democracy. Zhao Zhao created sculpture after the artist's arrest; the Beijing State Security confiscated his artwork that was traveling to New York. Other artists discuss other forms of protest.

Turn of the Century (06:15)

Chinese artists record worker exploitation, financial, ecological, and public health scandals. Artists describe contemporary influences that inspire art. China is accepted into the World Trade Organization. A rising middle class created a larger market for artists.

Pursuing a Fine Arts Career (03:45)

Annually, 150,000 Chinese students take the entrance exam to attend the fine arts school. Cinema and literature are heavily censored. Zhang Xiato describes why he finds it difficult to teach art in China.

Returning to the Fundamentals (04:49)

Artists return to traditional art forms to create a modern expression. Chinese culture is based upon serenity which is at odds with the technological world.

Chinese Artists (06:19)

Experts describe how China is putting its artists at the forefront of the world who are creating a new aesthetic. He Yungchang explains his influences behind his latest installation, "One Meter for Democracy."

Credits: China, One Million Artists (00:44)

Credits: China, One Million Artists

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China, One Million Artists

DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
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3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



China has been the biggest art seller in the entire world since 2012. Yet they remain relatively unknown compared to these numbers. Who are these artists? What drives them and how do they circumvent censorship? Contemporary Chinese art took off spectacularly after Mao’s death. Artists have revisited Western art and some have hijacked communist propaganda, supplementing it with a vitriolic critic of western consumerism currently sweeping the country. Art is well placed to observe the excesses of Chinese society and it has become the flag bearer for aspirations to freedom. These contemporary works symbolize people’s wounds and hardships, as well as state violence. Although two artists—Basquiat and Koons—account for 50% of the American market, China has placed 47 artists in the top 100—nearly half of them are newcomers. Through personal encounters with the most original and avant-garde artists—in their workshops or during performances—this film sets out to understand their work and what motivates them as well as their fight against censorship.

Length: 53 minutes

Item#: FMK145231

ISBN: 978-1-64347-133-4

Copyright date: ©2017

Closed Captioned

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Only available in USA and Canada.