Zhou Ming's Shanghai Sketch series, 2002. Courtesy of the photographer.

Archived exhibitions are no longer available for booking but are maintained as a virtual record of past Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) programs.

This exhibit met an existing community desire–to better understand this crucial moment in China’s history and how artists have played a role in representing it.”
—Weisman Art Museum, University of Minnesota

Seven contemporary photographers reveal a nation that has been, until now, largely hidden from Western view. The country is rapidly changing. Today’s China is increasingly international, urban, and open. As millions of rural workers surge into the cities, metropolitan centers cope with the needs of their new occupants, straddled between an adherence to traditional ways of life and the desire for viable work.

Originally presented by Bates College Museum of Art in Lewiston, Maine, and curated by Gu Zheng of Shanghai’s Fudan University, Documenting China: Contemporary Photography and Social Change takes viewers to ultra-modern hotspots such as Shanghai and Beijing, replete with futuristic skyscrapers and hip cafes. But the exhibition also presents a more complete view of China, transporting us to the countryside just after the death of communist leader Mao Zedong and to the gritty industrial fields of Henan and Heilongjiang Provinces.

More than 50 black-and-white photographs, interspersed with an array of colorful, oversized images, record the monumental changes that have created a new class of citizens and forever altered the social and economic climate of China.

This exhibition was made possible through the generous support of Crystal Cruises.

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57 framed color and black-and-white photographs (7 oversized), text panels, labels

Supplemental 47-page, full-color exhibition catalogue
Participation Fee

Contact scheduling department for reduced fee update

Size 250 running feet (76 running meters)
Crates 6
Weight 2,275 lbs. (1,032 kg.)
Category History & Culture
Security Moderate
Shipping Outgoing; host museum arranges shipping and pays carrier directly
SITES Contacts

Ed Liskey to schedule, 202.633.3142
Marquette Folley for content, 202.633.3111

Toured Through 2009
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Dates   Host Institution Status
4/8/06 6/4/06 Boca Raton Museum of Art, Boca Raton, FL Booked
6/24/06 8/20/06 Carnegie Art Museum, Oxnard, CA Booked
9/9/06 1/21/07 Barrington Area Historical Society, Barrington, IL Booked
2/10/07 4/8/07 DePree Art Center and Gallery, Hope College, Holland, MI Booked
4/28/07 6/24/07 San Francisco Public Library, San Francisco, CA Booked
9/7/07 11/25/07 The Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis, MN Booked
12/15/07 2/10/08 Mariani Gallery, University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, CO Booked
3/1/08 4/27/08 Paul A. Elsner Library, Mesa Community College, Mesa, AZ Booked
5/17/08 10/4/08 The Crow Collection of Asian Art, Dallas, TX Booked
10/25/08 1/3/09 Thomas Center Galleries, Gainesville, FL Booked
1/24/09 3/22/09 Rutgers Camden Center for the Arts, Camden, NJ Booked
4/11/09 6/7/09 University of Colorado Heritage Center, Boulder Booked
6/27/09 8/23/09 University of Colorado Heritage Center, Boulder Booked
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Documenting China: Contemporary Photography and Social Change, Exhibition Brochure, 2005.

>> Download this brochure

Documenting China: Contemporary Photography and Social Change by Gu Zheng; Bates College, 2004; Soft Cover; $10.00

Exhibition Catalog featuring color and black and white photographs by seven of China's most celebrated contemporary photographers. Text by scholar Gu Zheng reveals the visual and artistic depth of the images.






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Exhibition Specifications

Tour Itinerary

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Mailing Address
PO Box 37012
MRC 941
Washington, DC 20013-7012
202.633.3168 (tel.)
202.633.5347 (fax)

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