Yellow Earth: Regional Chinese Ink Painting in the Age of Postwar Modernism


Getty/ACLS Postdoctoral Fellowships in the History of Art


Visual Arts


This book establishes Chinese art in the expanded terrain of postwar modernism through an examination of the Maoist-era ink painting collective known as the Chang’an School. Noted for transforming ink painting from a studio-based practice to a hybrid genre that combined the Chinese medium with Western realism, the school cultivated the historical allure of northwestern China to promote a new form of nationalism that bypassed the country’s late imperial period to evoke the glory of China’s ancient past. This book argues that in a contested geopolitical space, the reorientation of Chinese art helped the Chinese Communist Party advance its profile as a leader of the emergent Third World by defining modernity and nationhood in visual terms. In doing so, this project considers neglected dimensions of global postwar art—realism, indigeneity, and neo-traditionalism—that have been excluded in the narrow discourse of Euro-American modernism.