Speaker: Yang Wang, assistant professor of art history, University of Colorado Denver
In the 1950s, the Loess Plateau in northwestern China came into focus as the target of the communist government’s efforts to mitigate desertification and the subject of a politically infused artistic revival. An elite group of ink painters, known as the Chang’an School, gained national fame for depicting the plateau’s distinctive landscape and cultural traditions.
This lecture will examine the factors that gave rise to the Chang’an School within the context of Maoist China’s interconnected political, economic, environmental, and cultural policies. Professor Yang Wang argues that the artistic depiction of the Loess Plateau was a manifold statement of nationhood that not only valorized China’s indigenous heritage (unspoiled by foreign influence) but also reinforced governmental efforts to rehabilitate the region out of economic necessity.