“Graphic Ideology: Cultural Revolution Propaganda from China” opens at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art

The exhibition is on view from July 22 to December 31, 2017 in the Coeta and Donald Barker Gallery.


EUGENE, Ore. -- (July 20, 2017) – “Graphic Ideology: Cultural Revolution Propaganda from China” features propaganda created before, during, and after China’s Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (1966-76). On view in the Coeta and Donald Barker Galley at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art on the University of Oregon campus, the exhibition includes more than 70 powerful works on loan from a private collection.  The exhibition will be celebrated at a reception on Friday, September 22, from 6 to 8 p.m.


“These posters, prints, drawings, and memorabilia were intended to educate, indoctrinate, and inspire,” says Anne Rose Kitagawa, JSMA Chief Curator of Asian Art. “They helped to mobilize China’s rapid political and social change.”


Mao Zedong (1893-1976), the founder of the People’s Republic of China (1949-present), believed that a political revolution could only succeed after a cultural revolution in which traditional beliefs, modes of thought, and behaviors were altered. Art needed to be “red, bright, and shining” to inspire the change that would lead to the creation of a socialist society.


Inexpensive and easily distributed, posters were an effective means of reaching China’s vast population. Soldiers, workers, peasants, women, and children were taught about hard work, altruism, and their new roles in society. Youth were encouraged to expose beliefs deemed detrimental to the revolution. Solidarity with international socialist movements was promoted, and guidance on all topics was sought in adherence to Mao Zedong Thought.


This project began with a survey of more than 450 propaganda posters conducted by University of Oregon graduate students Kun Xie, Sangah Kim, Allie Mickle, and Esther Weng. Under the guidance of JSMA chief curator Anne Rose Kitagawa, the survey culminated in a 2016 Soreng Gallery of Chinese art rotation planned in collaboration with Ina Asim, UO Professor of History.  Kitagawa and Asim, in conjunction with Roy Bing Chan, Professor of East Asian Languages and Literature, Jenny Lin, Professor of History of Art and Architecture, and Bryna Goodman, Professor of History, provided further input so tha “Graphic Ideology” will align with a number of courses and programs during the fall term.


“The museum is deeply indebted to the anonymous collector who encouraged our students to research these historically important and visually compelling works,” says Jill Hart, JSMA executive director. “The graduate students who catalogued the collection provided the framework from which the show developed. We are thrilled to give young people the chance to grapple with original art and ideas and to present their research in the form of exhibitions. That is one of the principle responsibilities - and privileges - of a teaching museum.”


The exhibition, catalogue, and programs are made possible with generous support from the WLS Spencer Foundation; the Coeta and Donald Barker Changing Exhibitions Endowment; the Harold and Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation; the Oregon Arts Commission, and the National Endowment for the Arts; a federal agency; JSMA Academic Support grants, and JSMA members.


About the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art

The University of Oregon's Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is a premier Pacific Northwest museum for exhibitions and collections of historic and contemporary art. The mission of the museum is to enhance the University of Oregon’s academic mission and to further the appreciation and enjoyment of the visual arts for the general public.  The JSMA features significant collections galleries devoted to art from China, Japan, Korea, Europe, and the Americas as well as changing special exhibition galleries.  The JSMA is one of seven museums—and the only academic art museum-- in Oregon accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.


The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is located on the University of Oregon campus at 1430 Johnson Lane. Museum hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesdays, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for senior citizens. Free admission is given to ages 18 and under, JSMA members, college students with ID, and University of Oregon faculty, staff and students. For information, contact the JSMA, 541-346-3027.


Contact: Debbie Williamson Smith, 541-346-0942,


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