Adventures of Art Critic Barbara Pollack in ‘The Wild, Wild East’

BY Tom LeGro  June 4, 2010 at 3:22 PM EST

'The Wild, Wild East'The first time art critic Barbara Pollack went to China in 2004, she says the art scene reminded her of the wild, wild west: there were some brave pioneers and a general sense of lawlessness — no established rules or conventions.

In the short years since then, the Chinese art scene — like the economy — has exploded, with over 400 new galleries in Beijing and 1,200 contemporary art museums being built across the country, according to Pollack. These days, artists are more like rock stars than lonesome cowboys, enjoying fame, wealth and creative productivity.

Pollack’s observations of the Chinese contemporary art scene are in her new book, “The Wild, Wild East: An American Art Critic’s Adventures in China.”

“The Chinese are very determined to be a force culturally in the 21st-century, not just economically,” says Pollack. Whether or not western tastes will embrace the new art coming out of China, it will, says Pollack, undoubtedly have a effect on the future of global culture.

 
I talked to Barbara Pollack today by phone about her new book: