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Art for the masses

By Feng Hui | | Updated: 2008-10-31 17:23

Ever since Chinese art swept over the Sotheby’s spring auction in New York in 2006, Chinese artists have begun to shine across the world with their works breaking records time and time again. The most renowned artist Yue Minjun set a record of HKD 54,080,000 at a Christie’s auction in May 2008.

The price of Chinese contemporary artworks bade by the international action market reflects that the global collection market is gradually paying attention to Chinese modern art. However, the soaring prices are also companied by controversy from the public who ask, “With such a high price, is it art or a business and are they created for the public or the rich?”

 Frankly speaking, some modern artworks are hard to be understood by most people because of their artistic themes and content. There is a long way to go for artworks to be appreciated by the common people. However with the development of technology, cartoons, for example, are a good way to popularize artworks.

A New Attempt to popularize Art

Art for the masses

Another interesting attempt at bringing art appreciation into the wider society is named “Art for the masses”. Here curators invited five famous Chinese modern artists to join and combine their artworks with toys. The five artists Yue Minjun, Zhou Chunya, Liu Ye, Zhou Tiehai, Jin Nǚ are known for their ironically artistic ideas and their academic styles make their works different from popular culture, most of which only can be seen in museums or galleries.

Artists and Their Toys

Yue Minjun

Born in Heilongjiang Province in 1962 and a graduate from the department of fine arts of Hebei Normal University, Yue Minjun is one of the most important painters in the genre of Cynical Realism.


Art for the masses

This toy is created based on Yue’s portrait. The toy is grinning from ear to ear and covering its eyes with its hands; you can not only feel humor but also grief from its big smile; it seemed as if the toy laughs at the ridiculous world and doesn’t want to see any grief.

Zhou Chunya

Born in Chongqing municipality in 1955 and a graduate from the Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts, Zhou Chunya is acknowledged as the best painter for his mastery of colors. His works usually combine expressionism with Chinese tradition, conveying his feelings by the colors and objects in his paintings. The most famous work is the green dog series, which is created to commemorate his dead dog Heigen.


Art for the masses

With different figures and bold colors, these green dogs are made of fluff and feel so real once in the hand. They are believed to be not only the muse in Zhou’s memory but also a lovely friend of the masses.

Liu Ye

Born in Beijing in 1964, Liu Ye graduated from Berlin University of the Arts, Germany with a master’s degree. Influenced by traditional Chinese ideas and western masters, his works cover traditional eastern oils to western abstract paintings. He is skilled at painting lovely cartoon images to reveal the evilness and contradictions hidden under a beautiful appearance.

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