"East/West: Visually Speaking" at the Frost Art Museum through September 11

This exhibit at the Frost Art Museum crams Chairman Mao's Little Red Book through the shredder. In fact, the gang of 12 Chinese artists whose works are on view in "East/West: Visually Speaking" trafficks with the currency of American pop culture and runaway globalization in a way that probably has the ghosts of Mao's vicious wife Jiang Qing and the Maoist radicals known as the Gang of Four turning cartwheels in their coffins. The traveling group show features works by a generation of artists who were born or came of age during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) and have experienced an alternate vision of Mao's blueprint for China's great leap forward. Seamlessly curated by Dr. Lee Gray, the sprawling exhibit includes nearly 40 contemporary works by Cai Lei, Cang Xin, the Luo Brothers, Ma Baozhong, Shen Jingdong, Shi Liang, Sun Ping, Tang Zhigang, Zhang Hongtu, and Zhong Biao. Caught between the dense weight of history and tradition, this generation is the first in many years to come into widespread contact with the West and live through sweeping changes in Chinese culture. Consequently, the artists on view have filtered the lexicon of American and European visual arts and represent a more democratic and multifaceted view of the real and imagined swaps underway between the world's two biggest superpowers. While some of the works reflect an adoring view of the West, others parody American values.


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