The article examines the trope of the “death of the avant-garde” in the context of contemporary Chinese theatre. It addresses comparable “death discourses” such as the so-called theatre crisis of the late 1980s and early 1990s and critiques of “pseudo avant-gardism” that have been formulated with respect to the recent praxis of established experimentalists such as Beijing-based director and dramatist Meng Jinghui. The article argues that the Chinese avant-garde is not dead; it has, rather, evolved into a distinctive “pop avant-garde” mode that more aptly reflects and responds to the condition of Chinese society in times of market economy and cultural commoditization.

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