(At Least) Three Ways of Seeing
Anxiety In China
Dr. Jennifer Dorothy Lee’s
Tenure Review Presentation


I was commissioned to create a set of posters for Dr. Jennifer Dorothy Lee’s tenure review presentation in September 2021 at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The set includes :

  • A version for email circulation with no specific limitation.
  • A version for campus DigiSign with specific instructions on formatting.
  • An image of the talk for an institutional newsletter.

The talk centers on Dr. Lee’s book manuscript, Anxiety Aesthetics, in which she excavates the often overlooked socialist legacy in contemporary Chinese art produced in the aftermath of the Cultural Revolution ( post-1976 ). 

Considering the theme of the talk is relatively abstract and its scope encompasses a wide range of media ( essays, poetry, visual art ), it would be difficult to find an existing image to represent the subject. Thus I took a more abstract route toward achieving the poster image. To tease out the theme of the talk, I overlay the background with the repetition of three different phrases in Chinese language that express anxiety/worry/concern (紧张,忧患,焦虑). These phrases are typed in Da Biao Song (极字经典大标宋). Song fonts in general supply a common choice for governmental documents and public slogans owing to their clarity and majestic appeal. Using Da Biao Song for the background characters, I hint at the legacy of anxiety rooted in the Chinese Communist Party's founding of the Lu Xun Academy of Fine Arts (1938).

In the body paragraph, Darker Grotesque is used for its close resemblance to display fonts commonly seen in revolutionary posters. The text is set in blue to evoke the iconic blue cover of Today! (1978), the literary journal discussed at length in Dr. Lee's manuscript.
The Song font that is used in governmental document

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