Chinese artists cross the red line 2

Yahoo and The Guardian have published pictures of the Beijing Dashanzi International Art Festival.

There’s been more signs of censorship as many politically sensitive pictures have been removed from view, such as Sheng Qi‘s painting of a tank on Tiananmen Square and Zhang Fangbai’s picture of an ectoplasmic Karl Marx about to be bashed by a worker with a mallet, and Chairs with portraits of Bin Laden, Hitler and Mao by Shen Jingdong (image on the right).


However, extremely shocking works are left untouched. A Gallery, for example, is showing a video by Hermann Nitsch of blood and entrails being poured over naked men and woman. That is non-political and foreign so it is permissible.

Much political work also remains on view. Artists and galleries cannot resist Mao and the Cultural Revolution. Even Tiananmen is increasingly tempting. Some tackle these subjects out of a sense of idealism, others from commercial instinct. Politics sells pictures, especially to foreign buyers who make up 80% of the market for contemporary art.

Which creates a headache for Dashanzi censors. The government has told them it wants to improve its cultural trade deficit with the outside world. But they will not permit anything that threatens political order or social morals.

Reports in Culture Vulture 1 and 2.