Shen Jingdong @ China Square
The art of Nanjing-born Shen Jingdong may just be the pinnacle of communist chic — and one of the trendier pop-political crossovers since the misappropriation of the keffiyeh. Jingdong’s art provides an alarmingly pop and perky examination of Chairman Mao-era communism, drawn from his personal experience in the Chinese military’s drama troupe. There he had access to the psyches of soldiers, which provided him ample opportunity to see the soldiers not as disposable pawns, but sentient creatures with feelings. And so in “Shen Jingdong: Hero,” held in NYC’s China Square gallery, the artist’s body of work presents a side of the communist experience that sidesteps common broodiness and instead generates a tangible emotional consciousness.
The real seal of approval lies in this: Shen Jingdong’s work was banned from a Beijing museum after one of his installations placed Chairman Mao alongside other political dictators — and naturally, once declared unfit for his compatriots’ eyes, his work gained buzz and won its way into the hearts of this Chelsea gallery (among other international venues). “Shen Jingdong: Hero” runs through the end of the month.