Zhang Xiaogang on the Chinese Art Boom: ‘I Just Felt Like a Machine, Forced to Work’

A work by the artist. (Courtesy Getty Images)

The Wall Street Journal‘s Kelly Crow has just posted a fascinating piece that looks at the career of popular artist Zhang Xiaogang as a case study in the Chinese art boom. It’s great stuff! Read it here!

Here’s an excerpt:

“I just felt like a machine, forced to work,” he said recently, in an interview conducted through a translator. “I felt like I could not decide things for myself.” He moved studios five times between 2000 and 2005, in part to accommodate more visitors. Western collectors who were increasingly following China’s economic rise were also discovering Chinese contemporary art, and it wasn’t unusual for him to have eight delegations a day filtering through his door. Some sought favor by bringing him expensive wine or inviting him on vacation. A few cried and told him they were so moved by his art. He began to wonder if he should get a steady gallery to handle his sales.

As the piece reminds us, galleries are a relatively new development in China, and no private galleries existed there until the 1980s.