Chinese galleries remove politically sensitive works

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Date: 2006

Region: Russia and Central Asia

Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion

Medium: Painting


Artists: Gao Qiang, Wu Wenjian, Huang Rui, Sheng Qi

Confronting Bodies: Chinese government

Date of Action: April 2006

Location: Beijing, China

Description of Artwork: Among the politically sensitive works ordered to be removed was a painting by Gao Qiang portraying Mao Zedong bathing in the Yangtze river that is filled with blood. The second work removed is a work by Wu Wenjian of the 1989 massacre in Beijing depicting tanks and armed soldiers as stick figures. Another work removed is one by Huang Rui where he used banknotes with Mao Zedong's portriat to create a cutltural revolution slogan. Police also removed Gao Qiang's portrait of Mao Zedong with a pig. Two years ago, government officials closed an exhibit by Sheng Qi who creates images of the cultural revolution.

The Incident: Despite the Chinese government's desire to develop the Dashanzi art district of Beijing, officials ordered at least three galleries to remove certain politically themed art works. This occurred after artists became more comfortable creating and displaying poltically motivated artworks.

Results of Incident: Currently the government is trying to develop the Dashanzi art district while still maintaining control.

Source: The Guardian, http://arts.guardian.co.uk