Representing Communism seminar

Dr Amy Jane Barnes
‘Representing Communism: exhibitions of revolutionary Chinese art in 1970s Britain’
Tuesday 5th April, 2011, 4.00–6.00 pm
Westminster Forum, University of Westminster, 5th Floor, 32-38 Wells Street, London W1T

In 1972, President Richard Nixon visited China, facilitating a period of rapprochement between East and West, which corresponded with a discernable shift in popular attitudes towards the People’s Republic and the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) in both North America and Western Europe. This presentation looks at the development and reception of two exhibitions of Chinese revolutionary art held in Britain as a direct result of the renewal of Sino-British diplomatic relations in 1971-1972: a small display of woodblock prints held at the Gulbenkian Museum of Oriental Art, Durham, in the summer of 1974 and Peasant Paintings from Hu County (Arts Council), which toured Britain in 1976-1977. The presentation will focus on how utopian visions of the People’s Republic were translated into, and consolidated by exhibitionary practice.

Amy Jane Barnes completed her PhD in Museum Studies at the University of Leicester in 2010. She is currently working as an independent researcher, undertaking projects on behalf of the Eunamus project (, and New Walk Museum and Art Gallery in Leicester. She recently co-edited National Museums: New Studies from Around the World (2011), and the forthcoming volume The Thing about Museums: Objects and Experience, Representation and Contestation.

Hosted by ur friends in the Contemporary China Centre. All welcome. Participants from outside the University of Westminster please register in advance with Dr Derek Hird at

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