The last two decades have witnessed momentous economic, social, and political changes in mainland China and throughout the "Chinese world." Artists in urban centers and elsewhere in China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong (now a special administrative region of China) have responded to these changes with an explosion of diverse work that is simultaneously exhilarating and bewildering. Using a variety of media, from ink and oil painting to installation and performance art, many Chinese artists in the region and abroad are grappling with what it means to be Chinese in an age of economic globalization and transnationalism.
Inside Out: New Chinese Art is the first major exhibition to present the dynamic new art being produced by artists in mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and by selected artists who emigrated to the West in the late 1980s. Including works dating from the mid-1980s to the present (some commissioned for this exhibition), Inside Out focuses on works of art that explore the complex relationship between culturally specific issues and larger developments of a modern/postmodern age. Within this context, artists are appropriating and transforming both conventional Chinese aesthetic idioms and contemporary Western vocabularies to negotiate the cultural differences between past and present, self and other.
The decade-long perspective is intended to provide the viewer with a sense of the unprecedented pace of economic, social, and political change in the region. Organized thematically, the exhibition explores topics that are regionally specific-the reaction to consumerism and leisure culture in China in the 1990s or the quest for cultural identity in Taiwan-and issues that transcend physical borders, such as the viability of ink painting or the concern with language.
Inside Out was organized by the Asia Society Galleries and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and curated by Gao Minglu.