Remaking Beijing: Tiananmen Square and the Creation of a Political Space

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9780226360782: Remaking Beijing: Tiananmen Square and the Creation of a Political Space

In 1949, Beijing still retained nearly all of its time-honored character and magnificence. But when Chairman Mao rejected the proposal to build a new capital for the People's Republic of China and decided to stay in the ancient city, he initiated a long struggle to transform Beijing into a shining beacon of socialism. So began the remaking of the city into a modern metropolis rife with monuments, public squares, exhibition halls, and government offices.

Wu Hung grew up in Beijing and experienced much of the city's makeover firsthand. In this lavishly illustrated work, he offers a vivid, often personal account of the struggle over Beijing's reinvention, drawing particular attention to Tiananmen Square—the most sacred space in the People's Republic of China. Remaking Beijing considers the square's transformation from a restricted imperial domain into a public arena for political expression, from an epic symbol of socialism into a holy relic of the Maoist regime, and from an official and monumental complex into a site for unofficial and antigovernment demonstrations.

Wu Hung also explores how Tiananmen Square has become a touchstone for official art in modern China—as the site for Mao's monumental portrait, as the location of museums narrating revolutionary history, and as the grounds for extravagant National Day parades celebrating the revolutionary masses. He then shows how in recent years the square has inspired artists working without state sponsorship to create paintings, photographs, and even performances that reflect the spirit of the 1989 uprisings and pose a forceful challenge to official artworks and the sociopolitical system that supports them.

Remaking Beijing will reward anyone interested in modern Chinese history, society, and art, or, more generally, in how urban renewal becomes intertwined with cultural and national politics.

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About the Author:

Wu Hung is the Harrie A.Vanderstappen Distinguished Service Professor in Chinese Art History and director of the Center for the Art of East Asia at the University of Chicago. He is also the author of numerous books, including Transience: Chinese Experimental Art at the End of the Twentieth Century, Exhibiting Experimental Art in China, and The Double Screen: Medium and Representation in Chinese Painting.

Review:

"Highly original. . . . The author's account of his own developing political understanding adds another perspective to his cultural studies approach and records the intellectual and poltiical history of a generation." (Delia Davin The Times Higher Education Supplement 2005-11-25)

"Fascinating. . . . multilayered book into which the author has woven passages of thoughtful narrative from his own experience. . . . Should help us all to think and look beyond the square." (John Gittings The Guardian 2006-04-29)

"At first glance, Remaking Beijing seems a curious mix of art history, political history, and personal reminiscences, but this first impression quickly fades and the book emerges as a compelling and well-structured whole." (Daniela Yew Art Documentation)

"The author’s balanced but sensitive observation complements the scholarly narrative, and yet avoids the trivialising self-absorption that can spoil personal reactions to these momentous events." (Asian Affairs 2007-03-01)

"Wu Hung sensitively intertwines his learned analysis with a personal account of how Tananmen influenced him and his family. He explains how the Communists decided to turn the area in front of the Forbidden City from a relatively private space into an overpowering public one."

(Jonathan Mirsky Times Literary Supplement)

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HUNG, Wu.
Editore: The University Of Chicago Press, Chicago, 2005 First Edition. Hardback. No Dust Jacket. (2005)
ISBN 10: 0226360784 ISBN 13: 9780226360782
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Descrizione libro The University Of Chicago Press, Chicago, 2005 First Edition. Hardback. No Dust Jacket., 2005. 8vo. pp 272. Original publisher's black cloth with lettered gilt at the spine. Copiously illustrated throughout in black and white and colour.ISBN: 0226360784 Fine. Codice libro della libreria C21311

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