Zhang Hongtu: Expanding Visions of a Shrinking World is edited by Luchia Meihua Lee, guest curator of Zhang Hongtu, and Jerome Silbergeld. Twelve leading art experts, art historians, and critics have reviewed the life, career, and artistic development of New York based Chinese artist Zhang Hongtu. Please join us for a conversation about the book and exhibition with Jerome Silbergeld and contributors Eugenie Tsai and Lilly Wei.
A pioneer in contemporary Chinese art, Zhang created the first example of “China Pop” art, and his oeuvre is as diverse, intellectually complex, and engaging as it is entertaining. From painting and sculpture to computer generated works and multimedia projects, Zhang’s art is equally rich in terms of China’s history and its current events, containing profound reflections on China’s oldest cultural habits and contemporary preoccupations. He provides a model of cross-cultural interaction designed to make Asian and Western audiences look more closely at each other and at themselves to recognize the beliefs they hold and the unexamined values they adhere to.
From his early work in China during the Cultural Revolution to his decades as an artist in New York, Zhang reflects the complex attitudes of a scholar-artist toward modernity, as well as toward Asian and Western societies and himself. Placing Zhang in the context of his cultural milieu both in China and in the Chinese immigrant artist community in America, this volume’s contributors examine his adaptations of classic art to reflect a contemporary sensibility, his relation to Cubism and Social Realism, his collaboration with the celebrated fashion designer Vivienne Tam, and his visual critique of China’s current environmental crisis.
Jerome Silbergeld is the P. Y. and Kinmay W. Tang Professor of Chinese Art History at Princeton University and director of Princeton’s Tang Center for East Asian Art. A specialist in Song-Yuan period painting, he has published more than eighty books, catalogues, articles, and book chapters on topics in traditional and contemporary Chinese painting, traditional architecture and gardens, cinema and photography. He has also curated and co-curated eight exhibitions, including the first major solo exhibition in America by a Chinese artist, in 1988. His books on cinema and photography include China Into Film, Hitchcock with a Chinese Face, and Humanism in China. On contemporary art, his books includeContradictions: Artistic Life, the Socialist State, and the Chinese Painter Li Huasheng, the first extensive study of any PRC artist, which became a New York Times notable book of the year in 1993; Outside In, on the globalization and loss of “Chineseness” of Chinese art; and ARTiculations: Undefining Chinese Contemporary Art.
Eugenie Tsai has been John and Barbara Vogelstein Curator of Contemporary Art at the Brooklyn Museum since 2007. Previously she was Director of Curatorial Affairs at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center in Queens, New York. Prior to Joining P.S.1 in 2005, she was an independent curator with projects for the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Berkeley Museum; and the Princeton University Art Museum. She held several positions at the Whitney Museum of American Art prior to becoming Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs. Among the exhibitions and installations she has organized are the mid-career survey Threshold: Byron Kim, 1990-2004; Robert Smithson, which received the International Association of Art Critics’ first place award for the best monographic exhibition of 2005; and for Princeton University, Shuffling the Deck: The Collection Reconsidered. Dr. Tsai received a B.A. from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, and a Ph.D. from Columbia University
Lilly Wei is a New York-based independent curator and critic whose focus is global contemporary art. She has written regularly for Art in America since 1984 and is a contributing editor at ARTnews and formerly one at Art Asia Pacific. Among other national and international publications, Wei has also written for Art & Australia, Asian Art News, Sanat Dünyamiz, Art Papers, Sculpture Magazine, Studio International, Tema Celeste, Flash Art, Art Press, and Art and Auction, and has frequently reported on international biennials such as those of Venice, Sydney, Cairo, Athens, Reykjavik, Shenzhen and Hong Kong and international exhibitions such as Documenta and Sonsbeek, the sculpture international in the Netherlands. She has been the author of many exhibition catalogues and brochures on contemporary art, including publications for the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; the Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, NY; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Knoedler, Marlborough and Pace Galleries, New York, NY. She has curated numerous exhibitions in the United States, Europe and Asia. Two of her most recent exhibitions were “The Museum Imagined” at Danese/Corey, New York, NY, and “Uncanny/Figure” at Dorsky Gallery Curatorial Programs. Wei lectures on critical and curatorial practices and serves on numerous advisory committees and review panels. She was born in Chengdu, China and has an MA in art history from Columbia University, New York.