Over the past three decades China has experienced profound socioeconomic changes that have prompted calls to revisit, reconsider, and redefine the nation’s identity. Although there remains a strong local understanding of Chinese history and heritage, the homogenization of the country’s urban geography and the rapid dissipation of rural life have dramatically altered the cultural landscape. Future Returns: Contemporary Art from China explores the impact of these transformations by bringing together works by contemporary Chinese artists that address China’s metamorphosis from a traditional society into an ultra-modern nation-state.

The pertinent question in today’s China is whether the country’s distinct traditions and values can continue to play a role in its development. The future of China cannot be predicted, yet the psychology of “change, change, change” that pervades the everyday lives of the Chinese allows for a multitude of possibilities. Only in the pursuit of these new potentialities will China be able to build on its distinctive culture. The focused selection of paintings, photographs, installations, and digital art in this exhibition showcases the vision of both emergent and established practitioners who have contributed to China’s celebrated artistic community. Through their works, Future Returns highlights the emergence of a new China, one that is not constrained by closed readings of the past.

Artists and filmmakers featured in the exhibition include: Chen Weiqun, Dong Jun, Geng Yi, He Yunchang, Jiang Ji An, Jin Yangping, Jizi, Li Junhu, Lin Xin, Liu Lining, Meng Baishen, Miao Xiaochun, Pei Li, Qu Yan, Sui Jianguo, Su Xinping, Tian Bo, Wang Chuan, Wang Huangsheng, Wang Yang, Xia Xiaowan, Xu Bing, Zhang Yanfeng, Zhou Gang, and Zhou Qinshan.

Future Returns: Contemporary Art from China is organized by the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at MSU and curated by Dr. Wang Chunchen, adjunct curator. Generous support is provided by MSU’s College of Arts and Letters. Additional funding is provided by Dr. Linda Nelson; Beijing Caissa Culture Communication Co., Ltd.; the Ministry of the People's Republic of China, China Arts and Entertainment Group; and the Broad MSU’s general exhibitions fund.


Click here for a full schedule of screenings in the Future Returns Documentary Film Series, presented in conjunction with Future Returns: Contemporary Art from China.

Click here to purchase publications related to this exhibition.