The Fullerton Museum recently featured China Modern: Designing 20th Century Popular Culture which opened to the public on April 14, 2012 and closed today July 1, 2012.

The dynamism of Twentieth Century China was on full display in China Modern, which chronicles the country’s changing character through a celebration of its graphic art and material culture. The more than 170 objects in this exhibition brought two contrasting 20th century ideologies-Capitalism and Communism-to the level of popular culture.

The exhibition was organized into 4 sections — A Graphic Tradition: Popular Design from Late Qing to Early Republic; Cosmopolitan Capitalism: Shanghai Under the Republic; A Revolution in Culture: Designing the People’s Republic, and; The Aesthetics of Nostalgia.


The predominantly graphic-based objects in China Modern included lychee and cigarette boxes, children’s toys, a multitude of product labels and advertisements, and propaganda from the rule of Communist leader Mao Tse-tung aka Chairman Mao. Curator Kalim Winata believes that “these everyday materials have been the small steps by which great cultural shifts are made.”

Beautifully detailed woodblock prints and lithographs showcased the high-quality craftsmanship of Chinese print designers and artisans.

This is the first exhibition to track graphic art and product design from the Qing Dynasty through the tumult of the Twentieth Century, while also reflecting on the impact art advertising has had on the contemporary experience.

The Fullerton Museum Center is located at 301 N. Pomona Avenue. For more information on exhibits or other museum programs call 714.738.6545.

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