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My Generation: Young Chinese Artists On Display In St. Petersburg/Tampa

Jun 9, 2014

A few years ago, the directors of the St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts and the Tampa Museum of Art decided they wanted to collaborate on something.  

After Todd Smith of the Tampa Museum of Art traveled to China with art critic and foremost Chinese art expert Barbara Pollack, he and Kent Lydecker of the St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts realized they'd found their project.

It's called My  Generation: Young Chinese Artists and features of the work of artists born after 1976. They belong to the post-Mao generation and grew up under China's "one child" policy,  surrounded by the growing pains of their country's transformation into a powerful market economy.

Pollack curated the exhibition, which is showing at both the FMA and Tampa Museum of Art, dividing it into four themes: politics, the environment, intimate relationships and family.  

And if you are expecting to see scroll paintings of cranes or black and white calligraphy drawings, you may be  surprised. 

Pollack says artists are "rock stars" in China and can get away with more political commentary using metaphor than others can.  And while they consider themselves global artists, not just Chinese ones, they have no desire to live outside of mainland China where they feel their work is well-regarded and can be understood.