井底之蛙

3/15/2008

What if?

Filed under: — Alan Baumler @ 9:15 pm

Geez, now everybody wants to play. On March 7 our own Charles Hayford started the ball rolling by posting on Five things that Didn’t Happen (But Might Have). This led to Michael Turton coming up with a list for Taiwan history. Now the New York Review of Books is getting in the act, with a piece by Perry Link entitled He Would have Changed China. It is a review of Zong Fengming’s book of conversations with Zhao Ziyang Link starts of with a few favorite Chinese history counterfactuals, like what would have happened to Lu Xun if he had lived past 1949, and then gets on to Zhao, who has also been a subject for these types of games. Link shows that during his years of house arrest Zhao did a lot of reading and came to the conclusion that China needed more democracy, more rule of law and less nationalism. He also concludes that Zhao would have probably had very little effect even if he had held on to power in 1989 and if his thinking had evolved in the same way. The real power was always with Deng Xiaoping and to a lesser extent Chen Yun. Still, lots of people in China like to imagine something that might have been better.

Conceptual art

Filed under: — Alan Baumler @ 8:56 am

Two pines

 

Several generations later, in Zhao Mengfu’s “Twin Pines, Level Distance,” something new appears. No more realism; no more romanticism; in a sense, no more painting. Now the landscape image is an extension of writing, a form of embodied thought, an essence of landscapeness, a text to be read. In the contemporary West we have a term for this: conceptual art.

With Asia Week in New York the NYT has a review of a show called “Anatomy of a Masterpiece: How to Read Chinese Paintings” There is a slide-show too! It looks like a nice show and a good book. Given some of the interest in connecting Chinese art to western traditions in the last post and the comments I thought I would post this.

Via HNN 

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