Opinion

Some Tips for Artists from Chinese President Xi Jinping

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Andy Warhol, “Mao Zedong” (1973) at Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (image via Wikimedia)

Xi Jinping, president of China and general secretary of its Communist Party, has, like his predecessors going back to Mao Zedong, some opinions about how “art workers” should go about their labor. A number of these have been helpfully compiled in a recent New York Times report:

  • “Fine art works should be like sunshine from blue sky and breeze in spring that will inspire minds, warm hearts, cultivate taste and clean up undesirable work styles.”
  • Artists should not be “slaves” of the market or “lose themselves in the tide of market economy nor go astray while answering the question of whom to serve. Otherwise their works will lack vitality.”
  • “Mr. Xi also offered criticism of some of the radical architectural designs that have come with China’s construction boom, calling for an end to ‘strange buildings’ … ”
  • Do: “disseminate contemporary Chinese values, embody traditional Chinese culture and reflect Chinese people’s aesthetic pursuit.”
  • Don’t: “plagiarism, mechanization and fast-food style consumption.”
  • Definitely make sure you haven’t: “distorted the classics, toppled history, failed to distinguish right from wrong or good from evil.”
  • “The creation of art can fly with the wings of imagination … but make sure art workers tread on solid earth.”

Xi’s tenets stand in stark opposition to the unassailable way of liberal democracy and its Bush School, which enjoins the artist to be free and copy whatever from Google Image Search.

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