Gao Minglu

Gao Minglu
b. 1949, Tianjin
Art critic, historian, and curator
GAO MINGLU was a seminal figure of the 85 New Wave [Art] Movement. After spending his middle school years during the Cultural Revolution in Inner Mongolia, he graduated from the Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts (1981) and received an MA in Art History from the Chinese Academy of Arts in Beijing (1984). From 1985 to 1991 he was an editor of Meishu [Fine Arts] magazine. After moving to the US in 1989, he obtained a PhD in Art History at Harvard University (2000). Gao Minglu now teaches Chinese art history at the State University of New York at Buffalo.
Following his ground-breaking exhibition China Avant-Garde (1989) of which he was chief curator, Gao organized ‘Inside/Out: New Chinese Art’ at the Asia Society Galleries in New York and MoMA in San Francisco (1998)—the first major showcase of contemporary Chinese art in North America. In 1999, he curated the Chinese section of ‘Conceptual Art: Point of Origin 1950s–1980s’ at the Queens Museum in New York. Recently he has organized the show ‘Chinese Maximalism’ for the Gallery of SUNY Buffalo in New York and the China Millennium Museum in Beijing (2003).
Inextricably linked with the definition and promotion of the avant-garde, Gao’s activities have been incessantly dedicated to the critical and historical discussion of this central artistic phenomenon provided a never-before-seen, anti-institutional of the post-Mao era. In the 1989 exhibition, Gao selection of contemporary Chinese art from the reform period. In the 1998 ‘Inside/Out’ show, which also included artists from Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan, his intent was to present this phenomenon to the Western public less as a fixed historical product and more as a transitional process that was responding to the fast changing pace of its country of origin. In most of his critical and scholarly production, Gao Minglu has sought to define the Chinese ‘avant-garde’ in ways that would set it apart from similar international movements and free it from the misunderstandings that often emerge from the use of the same, French-derived term.
Dal Lago, Francesca (1998). ‘Inside/Out: An Interview with Gao Minglu’, ART AsiaPacific 20 (October).
Gao, Minglu (1986). ‘’85 Meishu yundong’ [The ‘85 Art Movement]. Meishujia tongxun [Artists Communication] 3.
(1991). Zhongguo dangdai meishushi, 1985–1986 [The History of Contemporary Chinese Art]. Shanghai: Shanghai renmin chubanshe.
(1998). ‘Toward a Transnational Modernity—an Overview of the Exhibition’ and ‘From Elite to Small Man: Multi-Faces of a Transitional Avant-Garde in Mainland China’. In idem (ed.), Inside/Out: New Chinese Art. Berkeley: University of California Press.
——(2003). ‘Post-Utopian Avant-Garde Art in China’. In Ales Erjavec (ed.), Postmodernism and the Postsocialist Condition: Politicized Art under Late Socialism. Berkeley: University of California Press.
——and Andrews, Julia (1995). ‘The Avant-Garde’s Challenge to Official Art’. In Deborah Davis, Urban Spaces in Contemporary China: The Potential for Autonomy and Community in Post-Mao China. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 221–78.

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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