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Chinese Modern: Designing 20th Century Popular Culture

From Jackie Hooper, Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery:

The Thorne Gallery will host an art exhibit that examines 20th century Chinese politics by looking at its popular culture. China Modern: Designing 20th Century Popular Culture is an in-depth exploration of Chinese advertising images, mass media, graphic and product design that demonstrate how political ideologies and cultural values are transmitted through everyday objects. China Modern is on view Saturday, October 22 through Sunday, December 11, at the Thorne.

Keene State professors from China will present a guided walk through the exhibit at 6 p.m. Friday, October 21, during a reception hosted by the Friends of the Thorne from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Gallery.

The more than 170 objects in this exhibition bring two contrasting 20th century ideologies—Capitalism and Communism—to the level of popular culture. The exhibition shows how, despite vastly different goals, the means of instilling these values was often strikingly similar. The predominantly graphic-based objects in China Modern include lychee and cigarette boxes, children’s toys, a multitude of product labels and advertisements, and propaganda from the rule of Mao Zedong. Beautifully detailed woodblock prints and lithographs showcase the high-quality craftsmanship of Chinese print designers and artisans.

Also on exhibit through Sunday, December 4, is Infinite Mirror: Images of American Identity, which explores America’s self image through paintings, prints, photographs, and video by 42 artists whose insightful works reveal the triumphs, tragedies, relationships, and traditions that inform our notions of nationhood.

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