Starting December 15, the Phoenix Art Museum will debut an exhibit showcasing rare art, as collected by Gerry and Leslie Jones, from the post-Cultural Revolution in China called “Visions of Humanity: 20th Century Art from the Gerry and Leslie Jones Collection.”
Starting in the 1960s and venturing through the 1980s, the collection will provide a gateway into a time in Chinese history when artists were only able to work for themselves, with no hope of an audience ever viewing their work. Most of the work was done during and after the Chinese Cultural Revolution of the 1960s, when the country began destroying old customs, culture, habits and ideas, starting with the destruction of artwork and historical artifacts that represented centuries of Imperial Rule. It wasn’t until the 1980s when the Chinese government began to create policies that created space to allow painters to work publicly, creating a new hope for the people of China and birthing a new generation of artists for a broader audience.
“What is most distinct about the art of this period is not just what it depicts, but whom it depicts,” said Janet Baker, PhD, the curator of Asian Art at the Phoenix Art Museum and organizer of the exhibit. “The artists of this time developed a new artistic language for their homeland, and that meant depicting ordinary people, something that was highly uncommon prior to 1950.”
The subjects of many paintings in the collection include workers, soldiers, peasants, children, elderly persons and how they lived their day-to-day lives.
Gerry and Leslie Jones, who lived in China during the 1980s, were able to gain special permission by the Ministry of Culture in China to visit the homes and studios of artists across China in order to assemble this collection.
In addition to a 30-minute film in the gallery featuring an interview with Jones, Gerry will host a special gallery talk in the Orme Lewis Gallery on January 2, 2013 at 12 p.m., highlighting his favorite pieces in the collection.
For more information on the exhibit or about the Phoenix Art Museum, please visit phxart.org.
Visions of Humanity: 20th Century Art from the Gerry and Leslie Jones Collection
Where: Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix
When: December 1, 2012 – April 14, 2013
Contact: (602) 257-1222