Gao Brothers

Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art

Whether touched directly by the Cultural Revolution or not, many Chinese artists work with that bloody, turbulent time as recent history. The Gao Brothers (Gao Qiang and Gao Zhen), driven by the memory of their father, who was arrested in 1968 as a counterrevolutionary and died in custody, rose to international fame in the 1990s as artistic provocateurs. In a practice that can be mocking and damning but also personal and meditative, they relentlessly challenge the legacy of Mao Zedong and explore its broader implications in the process, provoking, not surprisingly, the ire of the Chinese government.

Eighteen of the brothers’ sculptures, paintings, and photographs are on view in a survey at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art—their first museum show in the United States. It is a fitting site, just a few blocks away from the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and its world-renowned collection of

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