Ironically, then, the “World” has not been much taken with Chinese postmodernism of any sort save perhaps in evanescent museum (installation) exhibition (Xu Bing of course, but also du temps en temps Mr. Ai in plagiarized mode, as in whose Cube Light (2008) – from Japan/Seville). I doubt that anyone would even bother to photograph the 2011 Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads adjacent the Plaza hotel, were it not for its “location/location”: it seems much like a recap of Andy Warhol’s matrices of repeated cultural objects (Ditto so many others.. )
The fragmented aesthetics of new city core buildings (shopping malls, rail station, concert halls etc.) and the slap-up, non-contexted nature of mass housing do not bode well either. A much publicized try at nationally (culturally) coded, high-silhouette architectural abstraction – the China Pavilion at Expo 2010 – seemed a first step toward an “us” version of postmodern (a second take on the dougong frame of the old city was clearly intended), but (as an installation) could not become a landmark , and remains hors champ, overshadowed by glory-seeking high-profile FOREIGN designed megaliths: the Cube, Andrieu’s Egg V2 (Beijing), and the replication thereof in Shanghai (Andrieu1, 2004), The CCTV Towers, and of course the Birdsnest. The 2012 (Western) N.Y. ball-dropping, Shanghai version, had, of course, to trundle at least the profile of the Pavilion onto the stage, but it seemed to sneak in then quickly out of klieg lights’ halo: the Rococo/neo-Venetian mid-rise antiques of the Treaty System, stole the show.
About the only “us”-conceived project to have cracked the fusion barrier – the it is a very remarkable “only” – is I.M Pei’s Suzhou (Municipal”) Art Museum 2010, itself a work of art, and laid out with a high degree of contextuality (they call it fengshui). For which reason it had to be created well out of eyeshot from the capital. If there is an “us” aspect to the after-2010 renormalizing, it is still modest, as in the Parisian inspired art deco mosaics recently muralized in station accesses for the Beijing and Shanghai Metros, downscaled (thus more durable) spin-offs of the lobby/atrium of the China Pavilion at the 2010 Expo.
But none of this offers a vision of post-modern or even neo-traditional that might revive global interest. Urban Chinese will become more and glued to TV and computer games (Avatar!!), the world will not participate, and not just because of language.