The BBC recently reported Chinese President Xi Jinping’s disturbing comments about art to a conference in Beijing of “authors, actors, scriptwriters and dancers.” While the Communists have always kept artists on a strict, “socialist” leash, in recent years Chinese artists have increasingly pushed the boundaries of what the state will allow in artistic expression.
Now the President has made it clear what he considers art to be, and not surprisingly there is no overlap between what his and my definition. I’m sure much of the audience felt the same. Here are some of his comments:
“He told artists, authors and actors that their work should present socialist values and not carry the “stench of money”.
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.
Works of art should present patriotism as the main theme and foster “correct” viewpoints of history, nationality and culture, as well as strengthen pride in being Chinese.
Yikes, this sounds like some terrible art.