This book provides an in-depth and thematic analysis of socially engaged art in Mainland China, exploring its critical responses to and creative interventions in China’s top-down, pro-urban, and profit-oriented socioeconomic transformations. It focuses on the socially conscious practices of eight art professionals who assume the role of artist, critic, curator, educator, cultural entrepreneur, and social activist, among others, as they strive to expose the injustice and inequality many Chinese people have suffered, raise public awareness of pressing social and environmental problems, and invent new ways and infrastructures to support various underprivileged social groups.
Introduction: Voices from Below: the Potential of Art Activism Part I: Social Criticism through Art 1. Art Criticism, Exhibition, and Citizen Politics: Wang Nanming and the Theory of Critical Art 2. Waste, Pollution, and Grassroots Environment Activism: Wang Jiuliang and the Art of Documenting Part II: Place Construction with Art 3. Art, Urban Renewal / Cultural Heritage Conservation, and Grassroots Community Building: Zheng Dazhen and the Maker of Lifestyle 4. Art and Place-Making for the People: Zuo Jing and the Trilogy of Rural Reconstruction Part III: Personal Development in Art 5. From Representation to Collaboration: Wen Fang and Her Poverty Alleviation Art 6. The Nurture Effect: Hu Jianqiang, Wang Jun and Art for Children Conclusion: Art and the Right to Bottom-up Social Changes