Art In America

Zhang Huan

at Pace,
534 West 25th St


Those who admire the Zhang Huan of grueling 1990s body performances (hanging in chains from the ceiling of your studio, anyone?), or his more recent copper-plate sculptures and incense-ash paintings, will likely be perplexed by his latest offering. "Poppy Fields" is a group of 18 canvases, each throbbing all over with bright, sweet colors and, upon close inspection, multiple little smiling faces. If Yue Minjun married Yayoi Kusama in a meadow . . . Actually, the visages refer to Tibetan dance masks and are intended to stir thoughts of rebirth and kindness—the kind of blithe spiritualism that, under Mao, was long dismissed as the opiate of the masses. 


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