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Creativity ClassArt School and Culture Work in Postsocialist China$
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Lily Chumley

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780691164977

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691164977.001.0001

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New Socialist Realisms

New Socialist Realisms

(p.93) 4 New Socialist Realisms
Creativity Class

Lily Chumley

Princeton University Press

This chapter considers the legacies of socialism in realist genres and political visions. It explores the relationships between official and unofficial visual cultures by tracing the links between three contemporary genres of realism—art test prep realism, avant-garde realism, and official/academic realism. Following on from the work of scholars who have argued for the persistence of socialist ethics in postreform China, this chapter shows how all three genres represent icons of the working classes and express a postsocialist form of class recognition and an ethics of inequality. Here, the transition from moving bodies to passive faces reveals a shift in models of history, from Marxism–Leninism–Maoism to Deng–Jiang–Hu's developmentalist socialism—models of history in which labor and the role of the worker have profound (and profoundly different) significance.

Keywords:   realist genres, political visions, visual cultures, realism, art test prep realism, avant-garde realism, socialism, working classes, class recognition

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