In the midst of checking proofs, I had a week filled with Chinese art outings: a visit to a new exhibit at the Smith College Art Museum and then a tour of the Chinese collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, both with Joan Lebold Cohen, who has done so much to enrich the Encyclopedia of China with her amazing collection of photographs, which she’s taken all over China since her first visit in 1972. She had the foresight to take photographs of everything – factory floors and business events as well as misty mountain scenery and streets filled with people on bicycles. Her donation to Smith College of a fascinating range of modern paintings means that western Massachusetts has even more connection with China.
Here are some details:
“‘Post-Mao Dreaming: Chinese Contemporary Art’ celebrates recent additions to the SCMA collection. As suggested by the title of the exhibition, these works provide a window into the era when Chinese artists, emerging from the constraints of thirty years of Maoist Communism (1949–1979), began to reclaim their individuality. Joan Lebold Cohen and Jerome A. Cohen, as regular visitors to China beginning in the early 1970s, witnessed both the excessive restrictions of the late-Mao period and the gradually increasing freedom artists achieved. The artwork the Cohens collected and have now given to SCMA embodies a remarkable historical record.”