You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

China’s modern artists have a taste for capitalism

Country now views creators as its finest emissaries

Marc Richards is making sure Los Angeles stays in step with Chinese contemporary art’s “Long March.”

A longtime dealer and collector of Chinese antiquities, Richards on Thursday night opened a La Brea gallery space that deals predominantly in new painting and photography from China.

His timing is fortuitous, as contemporary Chinese art is poised to reach new highs for collectors. In June, the movement’s best-known artist, Yue Min Jun, sold his 2002 painting “The Sun” for $185,000 at Christie’s in Manhattan.

“Zhang Xiao Gang’s (small) paintings were $1,800 six or seven years ago,” Richards says. “Then I thought that was crazy. Now those same paintings are almost $25,000.”

Whereas communist leaders once tried to crush its artists, the country now views them as its finest emissaries. Hong Kong dealer Nicole Schoeni says China’s art academies serve as breeding grounds for artists who are in high demand upon graduation. “They are the new bourgeoisie,” she says.

Although Richards may be the first Los Angeles gallery owner to feature contemporary Chinese artists, local colleges have been tracking their work. In spring, Otis College of Art & Design hosted “Regeneration: Contemporary Art from China and the U.S.,” while Cal Poly Pomona presented “Pop-Vision: Five Contemporary Pop Artists From China” back in December 2003.

“The work is superseding American art by leaps and bounds,” says L.A. Freewaves executive director Anne Bray, who featured Chinese video artists and photographers in Freewaves’ annual film, video and new-media festival last fall.

However, the feeding frenzy is fueled not only by American collectors but also by China’s own burgeoning national pride.

“The government realizes that it needs a cultural identity,” says Richards, “so it’s promoting Chinese art.”

With imagery that turns China’s propaganda to their own devices, these artists are noted for their expressions of cynicism and individualism — concepts that once seemed impossible under a communist regime.
ARTIST RENOUN
Yue Min Jun Exaggerated grinning faces that represent “a new reality “
Wang Guang Yi Pioneer of China ‘s political pop art movement
Hong Hao Intricately rendered but wholly fake global maps
Zhang Xiao Gang Soft-focus faces that make a statement on homogeneity
Zhang Dali Graffiti artist whose work appeared on the cover of Time magazine
Zeng Fanzhi Series of eerie mask paintings

More Scene

  • NMHC Impact Awards

    Aubrey Plaza, NHMC President Call Out Under-Representation of Latinos at Impact Awards

    Marc Richards is making sure Los Angeles stays in step with Chinese contemporary art’s “Long March.” A longtime dealer and collector of Chinese antiquities, Richards on Thursday night opened a La Brea gallery space that deals predominantly in new painting and photography from China. His timing is fortuitous, as contemporary Chinese art is poised to […]

  • 'Seven Seconds' TV show premiere

    Regina King Talks Heaviness of Role in 'Seven Seconds'

    Marc Richards is making sure Los Angeles stays in step with Chinese contemporary art’s “Long March.” A longtime dealer and collector of Chinese antiquities, Richards on Thursday night opened a La Brea gallery space that deals predominantly in new painting and photography from China. His timing is fortuitous, as contemporary Chinese art is poised to […]

  • UnReal Athena Film Festival

    How Trump Beating Clinton Impacted the Gender Politics of 'UnReal' Season 3

    Marc Richards is making sure Los Angeles stays in step with Chinese contemporary art’s “Long March.” A longtime dealer and collector of Chinese antiquities, Richards on Thursday night opened a La Brea gallery space that deals predominantly in new painting and photography from China. His timing is fortuitous, as contemporary Chinese art is poised to […]

  • 'Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and

    'Unsolved' Stars Point Out Racial Injustice in Biggie and Tupac Murder Cases

    Marc Richards is making sure Los Angeles stays in step with Chinese contemporary art’s “Long March.” A longtime dealer and collector of Chinese antiquities, Richards on Thursday night opened a La Brea gallery space that deals predominantly in new painting and photography from China. His timing is fortuitous, as contemporary Chinese art is poised to […]

  • Taura Stinson, Common, and Diane WarrenVariety

    Common, Pasek and Paul, Diane Warren Reveal Inspiration Behind Oscar-Nominated Songs

    Marc Richards is making sure Los Angeles stays in step with Chinese contemporary art’s “Long March.” A longtime dealer and collector of Chinese antiquities, Richards on Thursday night opened a La Brea gallery space that deals predominantly in new painting and photography from China. His timing is fortuitous, as contemporary Chinese art is poised to […]

  • 'Game Night' film premiere

    'Game Night': Director, Writer Talk 'Straddling Genres' and the Influence of 'Get Out'

    Marc Richards is making sure Los Angeles stays in step with Chinese contemporary art’s “Long March.” A longtime dealer and collector of Chinese antiquities, Richards on Thursday night opened a La Brea gallery space that deals predominantly in new painting and photography from China. His timing is fortuitous, as contemporary Chinese art is poised to […]

  • Esquire 'Mavericks of Hollywood' party

    Terry Crews on His Sexual Assault Lawsuit: 'If I Don’t Get Justice, Nobody Can'

    Marc Richards is making sure Los Angeles stays in step with Chinese contemporary art’s “Long March.” A longtime dealer and collector of Chinese antiquities, Richards on Thursday night opened a La Brea gallery space that deals predominantly in new painting and photography from China. His timing is fortuitous, as contemporary Chinese art is poised to […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content