PRINT Summer 2010

Pi Li

PERHAPS IN PLACES WITH LONGER HISTORIES, history is more easily cast aside. Two socialist traditions, those of Mao Zedong and of Lenin, held different ideas about cultural revolution and history: Mao believed that a thorough destruction of the old culture was necessary in order to usher in the new, while Lenin saw new culture as a “valuable” layer to be added to existing traditions. Mao’s philosophy of culture has seeped into the Chinese cultural unconscious, particularly its contemporary manifestation. After “revolution” is achieved, all that is left is to build monuments from scratch. And so countless private museums, city museums, and art centers have been ushered into existence. If museum tourism in the Euro-American context offers a way for the capitalist or bourgeois class to satisfy its desire for cultural fulfillment and, indeed, atonement, then we might call the Chinese museum-building

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