Framing the Revolution: Contemporary Chinese Photographs from the Jack and Susy Wadsworth Collection features more than 50 politically charged works ranging in date from 1958 to 2006. Together, they reflect upon modern Chinese history, examining events such as the Red Army’s Long March (1934–35), the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (1966–76), and other moments of tremendous social upheaval and change. Artists included are Wang Shilong (b. 1930), Liu Heung Shing (b. 1951), Xiao Lu (b. 1966), Sheng Qi (b. 1965), Qin Ga (b. 1971), and Shao Yinong (b. 1961) & Muchen (b. 1970).
This abbreviated survey of mid-20th through early 21st-century photography begins with black-and-white propaganda images by Wang Shilong showing aspects of Chinese society before, during, and after the Cultural Revolution. It continues with journalistic images by Liu Heung Shing that document the idealistic young artists behind Beijing’s 1979 Stars Art Exhibition. The exhibition also features the notorious image of Xiao Lu firing a pistol at her own art installation during the opening of Beijing’s China/Avant-Garde exhibition in February 1989, as well as works by Sheng Qi reflecting on the legacy of the Cultural Revolution. Framing the Revolution concludes with photos in which Shao Yinong & Muchen and Qin Ga reenact and remember the tumultuous Long March, in which a dwindling number of Communists traversed over 5,600 miles under fire by Nationalist forces.
In 1991, Jack and Susy Wadsworth moved to Hong Kong, which they used as a base to explore China’s burgeoning art scene. Eventually, their remarkable photography collection grew to over 190 works, which they began donating to the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art in 2018.
Framing the Revolution is on view through August 27 in Eugene, Oregon, and is available to travel afterwards.
For more information, visit jsma.uoregon.edu.
The exhibition, programs, and forthcoming catalogue are made possible with generous funding from the WLS Spencer Foundation, which is also providing support for the museum to hire a curator of contemporary Chinese art.