Art globalization = art westernization?

The word, globalization, has become a much used word due to technology development and the increase of international trade.  The word signifies one trading village across the whole earth and can be used in finance, trade, entertainment, economic; art, media and culture.   However, even though it is a convenient title, it belies the fact that there is a great in-balance between artists in developed countries and developing countries. Artists from less developed countries are less confident about their own indigenous art and to break into the more lucrative well established markets, may adapt their work to suit that market.  This could be considered a type of culture imperialism, with a more advanced or developed, popular culture imposing its own values and style onto another, culture typically weaker or less popular.  This is a metaphor of colonialism.

For example, Chinese contemporary artist Wang Guangyi’s work Materialist’s Art,  is about the subversion of the original portrait to change its meaning.  His technique in this example is to take an original iconic poster from the ‘Culture Revolution’s’ ‘Little Red Book’ period and ridicule the communist element and give it a capitalist twist by stating the word Materialist’s.  This is intimating that Chinese people are no longer communists and have now become capitalists.  He uses irony and humor to make his point and there is no doubt this would well to an audience that supported capitalism, however it could also be viewed as pandering to the prejudices of some western audiences that view Chinese people as greedy and materialistic.

Wang Guangyi, (2006) Materialist’s Art.

Clarke, D. Gao, M. and Hou, H. etc. eds. 1998. Inside Out: New Chinese Art. London: University of California Press

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