Magazines

Newsweek uses ten year old photo to depict contemporary China

NEWSWEEK0810s.jpg

Somebody at Newsweek is not exactly on the ball.

The August 9 issue of the Asian edition has a story about how avant-garde art is increasingly accepted by the authorities in Beijing, where just a few years ago just holding an art exhibition could get you arrested.

The article by Melinda Liu is a good introduction to the changing role of contemporary art and culture in China and is accompanied by a funny sidebar by Jonathan Ansfield about real estate companies using artists and musicians for PR purposes:

For cutting-edge artists, property moguls ... offer things the state cannot: ample performing space, advertising money to fill it — and enough clout to keep nosy bureaucrats at bay.

Fair enough and very true. So why the hell is the cover image a decade old? The guy on the cover is performance artist Zhang Huan who has already been living in the USA for five years. The cover photo is of a performance art event that took place in 1994. Entitled 12M2 the piece was performed in Beijing ten years ago. 12M2 consisted of Zhang squatting naked in a filthy non-flush public toilet for an hour, after covering his body in a mixture of honey, oil and waste water from cleaning fish.

A new slogan proposal for Newsweek's photo editors: Be the last to know.

You can find Zhang Huan online here.

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