The Stars Art Group or simply "The Stars" (Xīngxīng 星星) was a Chinese avant-garde group of non-professional artists in the late 1970s and early 1980s (the exact interval usually given as 1979 to 1983). It was founded by Ma Desheng and Huang Rui and included Wang Keping (王克平), Qu Leilei, Ah Cheng, Ai Weiwei, and Li Shuang (artist) as the only female member. A historically significant exhibition, now called the Star Art Exhibition, took place in late 1979 in Beihai Park, Beijing, outside the China Art Gallery.    After the exhibition was closed by officials, the group staged a protest for cultural openness. They succeeded in reopening the exhibition.  The exhibition took place between 23 November and 2 December, in which around 200,000 people attended the event.  The group organized another exhibition the next year.  Around and after 1983, the group disbanded, partly due to their members going into exile under political pressure, especially the Anti-Spiritual Pollution Campaign of 1983. 
The Stars Art Group was a foundational movement of the contemporary Chinese avant-garde active in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Mostly self-trained, the Stars championed individualism and freedom of expression both in their work and public activities. Taking personal experience and social issues as their subject matter, they pointedly diverged from state-sanctioned Socialist Realism. The group's member artists also included affiliates Zhang Hongtu and Zhang Wei,  Yan Li, Yang Yiping, Qu Leilei, Mao Lizi, Bo Yun, Zhong Ahcheng, Shao Fei,  and Ma Desheng. 
Zhang Dali is an artist based in Beijing.
Events from the year 1979 in art.
Zhong Acheng, often known by his pseudonym Ah Cheng, is a Chinese author and screenwriter.
Zhang Xiaogang is a contemporary Chinese symbolist and surrealist painter. Paintings in his Bloodline series are predominantly monochromatic, stylized portraits of Chinese people, usually with large, dark-pupiled eyes, posed in a stiff manner deliberately reminiscent of family portraits from the 1950s and 1960s. Recently, he also created sculptures, translating for the first time into three dimensions many characters of the sort seen in his "Bloodlines—Big Family" portrait series. These sculptures have featured in many exhibits and continue his work as one of China's leading, and most highly sought-after, contemporary artists.
Qu Leilei is a contemporary Chinese artist currently based in the UK.
Yang Zhichao is a multi-disciplinary artist who is known for his agonizingly painful performance pieces.
The Songzhuang Art Colony, located in Songzhuang Town of Tongzhou District, is the most famous and biggest artist community in Beijing. More than 2,000 artists live there.
The Beijing East Village was an avant-garde artistic community of the early 1990s located in the eastern part of Beijing, just past the Third Ring Road on what was then the city's margins. It was formed in 1993 when a group of like-minded artists took up residence together in a "village" of low-quality migrant worker housing, fixing at the entrance a handwritten sign. Their community's name was inspired by the East Village of Manhattan, with which they felt an affinity in their experimental aesthetics. Only the year after its founding, following the arrest of Ma Liuming for cooking naked in a courtyard, the community was closed by the police, though former residents continued to collaborate.
Li Shuang, is a contemporary Chinese artist.
Huang Rui is a Chinese artist known for his social and cultural criticism.
China/Avant-Garde Exhibition is one of the most significant exhibitions in the history of Chinese contemporary art. Opening on February 5, 1989 at the National Art Museum of China, this exhibition included over 186 artists and approximately 300 artworks from all over China. Widely regarded as a pivotal moment in the history of contemporary Chinese art, the exhibition provided a comprehensive view of the experimental works that emerged in mainland China after 1985. Examples of experimental artworks included Xiao Lu's impromptu performance where the artist used a loaded handgun to shoot her own artwork called Dialogue and Wu Shanzhuan in his work called Big Business sold frozen shrimp in a makeshift market stand. These works, among others, led to the temporary closing of the exhibition.
The Star(s) Art Exhibition took place on September 27, 1979 when The Stars Art Group ), a group of avant-garde and self-taught Chinese artists, staged an unpermitted exhibition on the railings of the China Art Gallery after being denied an official exhibition space. The artists used formerly banned western style, from post-impressionism to abstract expressionism to challenge both aesthetic convention and political authority. Their exhibition was closed by the police and they posted a notice on Democracy Wall. In November, the group held their first formal exhibition, Star Art Exhibition, at Beihai Park, Beijing. The exhibition included 163 works by 23 nonprofessional artists. Star Art exhibition was a milestone in China's contemporary art.
Gao Minglu is a scholar in Chinese contemporary art. He is the Chair of the Department of Art History, Professor for Distinguished Service, and Chair of Art and is an instructor at the University of Pittsburgh. He is also distinguished professor at Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts.
Zhang Wei is a Chinese painter and an important figure in the development of abstract art in postmodern China. Widely considered one of the founding members of the self-organized group of young painters known as No Name Group, he continues to create abstract art today.
Xing Danwen is a contemporary Chinese artist and photographer. She is known for the images she made during and after her MFA at the School of Visual Arts in New York, exploring ideas of dislocation as well as the form and psyche of contemporary living.
The Fifth Moon Group, also known as the Fifth Moon Art Group, is a group of Chinese artists who pioneered the modern art movement in post-war Taiwan between the mid-1950s and the 1970s. Members of the group were born in Mainland China and later migrated to Taiwan. The heyday of the group came during the 1960s–70s, coinciding with the period of the Great Cultural Revolution in Mainland China. The Fifth Moon Group is closely related to and usually associated with the Eastern Painting Group (東方畫會) in membership, artistic works, and exhibitions.
The Wuming Painting Collective was an underground counter-culture Chinese art collective and movement formed in 1969.
Mao Lizi is the pseudonym of Zhang Zhunli (张准立), a Chinese artist born in Shanghai. He was one of the founding members of China's pioneer contemporary art groups known as the Stars, of which Ai Weiwei and Wang Keping were also members.
Ma Desheng, born 1952 in Beijing, is a Chinese artist and one of the founding members of the Stars Group. After being arrested for his role in arranging the group's first exhibition and repressions against "liberal thinkers", the artist relocated to Paris in 1986. Ma is self-trained as a woodblock craftsman, his works are held in various significant public and private collections including the Ashmolean Museum, and the British Museum.
Beijing Spring is a 2021 American documentary film directed by Andy Cohen and co-directed by Gaylen Ross. The film chronicles the struggle for free speech and free artistic expression in the People's Republic of China (PRC) during a brief period of political reform during the late 1970s known as the Beijing Spring. Production started in 2010 and finished in 2020. Due to legal and jurisdictional issues surrounding the rights of Chi Xiaoning's never-before-seen archival footage, production was halted for four years until Hong Kong's M+ Museum untangled complicated ownership rights.