June 4 1989 Art Exhibition

“ Tiananmen Square... is an issue that has affected everyone. The spectacle of human courage, the nature of freedom, the crushing of life and its ideals, the issue of human rights, of censorship and its revival, these issues cannot be met with silence, with political and economic expediency. An acute awareness of unviersal aspirations has been raised for people of every culture and political persuasion. The meaning and the drama of China is for all to see and respond. ”
- The Asian American Art Centre

It has been 25 years since the student uprising in Tiananmen Square and the exhibition AAAC mounted in response. Political crisis abounds in modern times, yet this confrontation resulted in a unique artistic event with the power to communicate years after its original impact

The world has moved on but, for those who remember, Tiananmen Square was the precursor to the Solidarity Party’s victory in Poland, Czechoslovakia’s ‘Velvet Revolution’, Hungary’s declaration as a free republic, the crumbling of the Berlin Wall, and the break-up of the Soviet Union. For several weeks the faces of the students were playing on everyone’s TV, a daily daytime drama with a global audience. An unspeakable spectacle unfolded, focusing and transforming the clash of Chinese political destinies into media, imprinting itself on the human imaginary in epic dimensions. What most took for granted was violated before their eyes, changing the world fundamentally for everyone. The impact of Tiananmen Square was incalculable, touching the hearts and minds of people everywhere. People became involved and artists’ commitments reflected them, magnifying their outcry in vivid, powerful art forms.

Art, in this exhibition, transcended the gallery and spoke in the political square. Visions, metaphors and symbols encapsulate Tiananmen Square so the public can see past the politics to the meaning portrayed and crafted in the moment of crisis. Such is the power art brought to this historically unprecedented postmodern moment. AAAC thanks all the artists who made this exhibition possible, and through their artistry link us all to this moment in history.

One day, tangible evidence will present itself before the eyes of the people of China. Groups such as the Tiananmen Mothers are waiting for this. They are fighting for their loved ones and for justice for everything that has occurred since 1989. They want an account of what happened, recognition for their children, and reparations and justice for all the repeated injustices inflicted by the government. To resist enforced amnesia, expose the truth and bring justice to the Tiananmen Mothers is to undo the basis for the corruption that is flourishing today. China can still be changed.

AAAC’s purpose remains unchanged: to keep as much of the original exhibition intact so that the people in China may one day see this historic response of artists, their coming together to express the support of people in the US as well as the global community for the people of China, their struggles, and their dreams.

With Kind Regards,
Robert Lee
June 2014

(The original June 4, 1989 AAAC exhibitions were documented online in 2009 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the student movement. The site was updated in 2014 in conjunction with a remounting of the show at White Box in Lower Manhattan to commemorate the 25th anniversary.)

Click here to see the 25th Anniversary exhibition.

Artist Notices




為了紀念天安門事件25週年,亞美藝術中心將會於2014年六月一號到十號在紐約的Whitebox Art Center開辦展覽。這個建與2009年的網站是為了紀念天安門事件20週年,其中內容會被拓展與更新。