Arguing that cultural reform is a key aspect of political reform, Richard Kraus shows here that China's economic transformation has dramatically liberated the production and consumption of culture. In this original and provocative study, Kraus offers a political analysis of Chinese culture that includes all genres of art. Surveying the evolution of China's cultural politics between 1979 and 2003, this book explores the complex relationship between money and art as exemplified by declining state arts patronage, changing standards for painting nudity, censorship, and the professionalization of artistic work. Cogent, witty, and deeply informed, this comprehensive overview of the Chinese arts scene will be an essential text for all observers of contemporary China.
A cogent overview of the arts in general and the transmogrification of culture and its place in the Chinese polity today. . . . This accessible and solid study of the Chinese arts scene is a valuable piece of work that will find a wide readership both in academe and among interested groups-media, business, and government-dealing with China. . . . An essential text for students of post-1949 and post-1976 Chinese cultural, social, and political history. -- Geremie Barme, The Australian National University
Richard Kraus's gracefully written, refreshingly irreverent examination of the impact of the market on China's erstwhile system of state patronage of the arts explicitly rejects the conventional wisdom that extensive economic reform has not been accompanied by substantial political change. Kraus has given us one of those rare scholarly books students will actually enjoy reading. -- Stanley Rosen, University of Southern California
An excellent resource in graduate and postgraduate teaching. * School Of Oriental and Asian Studies *
The book is valuable for both researchers and students because its in-depth research and creative analysis provide an engaging understanding of the often murky workings of the Chinese party-state as it engages in economic reform. . . . Students of Chinese culture, society and politics will learn much from The Party and the Arty, as will a broader readership who is interested in the culture-politics dynamic and institutional reform. -- William A. Callahan * China Quarterly *
This is a book that must be read by anyone who wants to know more about the dynamics of present-day artistic life in China. -- James Gao, University of Maryland * China Review International, (Spring 2005) *
Readers of Richard Kraus's previous two books, Pianos and Politics in China: Middle Class Ambitions and the Struggle over Western Music (1989) and Brushes with Power: Modern Politics and the Chinese Art of Calligraphy (1991), know that he is one of the few Western scholars able to comment knowledgeably on the interaction between politics and the arts in contemporary China. Well informed about the arts generally, his books combined dedicated research with lively prose. This latest book similarly will not disappoint. One especially attractive feature is its coverage of the visual and perfrming arts as well as fiction and poetry. * The China Journal *