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Stars 星星 1979

OCAT Research Institute, Beijing

On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the First Stars exhibition outside Beijing’s National Art Museum of China in 1979, Stars 星星 1979 presents for the first time a contexualized exhibition of a seminal event in the development of contemporary Chinese art.


Curated by Wu Hung and Holly Roussell, this show will use a large amount of archival materials to offer a focused look at the Stars’ first exhibition and its circumstances.


There has been significant scholarly interest in contemporary art exhibitions and performance in China during the 1980s and 90s, yet surprisingly, little writing has scratched the surface of the rich history of the Stars group. For this reason, and with thanks to recent access to a significant body of primary documents, this anniversary archival exhibition, in celebrating the art group’s forty-years in 2019, will be an exciting addition to the research of the history of Chinese and global contemporary art.

The curators have chosen to look at the Stars’ story through the lens of its exhibition history. Specifically, the show will focus on the year 1979 and the first outdoor exhibition. The exhibition contains over 150 primary archival documents and documentary photographs, publications, film footage, as well as a conceptual reconstruction of the First Stars Exhibition.


A publication will be produced in conjunction with the exhibition to offer a detailed account of the First Stars Exhibition, including its content, context, layout, preparation, and documentation. It will feature several research essays on these aspects, and will reproduce key archival materials. It will be an invaluable source for studying the Stars in particular and contemporary Chinese art in general. 


The exhibition includes work by artists such as: Huang Rui, Ma Desheng, Qu Leilei, Ai Weiwei, Zhu Jinshi, Li Shuang, He Baosen, Yan Li, Wang Keping and others.



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