The Grass Society [草草社] By Piggott, Belinda
The Grass Society, or Caocaoshe, was a formal group of ink painters founded in Shanghai in 1979. Qiu Deshu [仇德樹] (1948--) founded the group and was its youngest member. Chen Jialing [陳家泠] (1937--), once a teacher of Qiu’s, was the group’s co-founder. From the 1950s to 1990s it was possible to practice art outside the Socialist system. The underground art movement included senior artists condemned by the Cultural Revolution and unofficial artists who had given up state employment. After Mao’s death in 1976, local arts administrators began exploring problematic exhibition themes with no political focus in mediums such as watercolors, considered unsuitable for Socialist Realist art. Caocaoshe emerged within this environment.