Art in Smog offers a glimpse of contemporary China through the work and lives of four artists and a curator. Footage from 1991 and 2016 documents a changing world. Su Xinping and Xia Xiaowan were young graduates of the Central Academy of Fine Arts who dreamed of modernity. Over their careers they probed human nature and sought self-knowledge. A deep unease pervades their visual images. Mushi, a self-taught “vagabond artist,” could not survive in Beijing and returned to his hometown, Chongqing, to try his hand at business. Chen Hui, a talented art student, fell in love with Xia Xiaowan. Twenty years later, she wants her own identity and career. Cui Cancan, a quick-witted rural youth, seized the day to become an international curator. The film is a visual record of China in the throes of transition.

For Classroom Use!

The two documentaries Inner Visions: Avant-Garde Art in China (1993) and Art in Smog (2018) convey the changing physical, economic, and intellectual environment in Beijing over 25 years. They provide a unique platform for discussing the challenges of China’s economic boom, through art. Now available for free streaming.

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