This is the first in an ongoing series in which our curators introduce artworks that have recently gone on display.
The strength of the Chinese painting collection in the Asian Art Museum lies in modern and contemporary ink painting. To complement the special contemporary exhibition Phantoms of Asia: Contemporary Awakens the Past (May 18–October 14), I have selected from the collection representative ink paintings ranging in date from 1965 to 2011.
Lui Shou-kwan, Chan painting, 1974, ink and color on paper.
The group of ink paintings on view in the Chinese painting gallery represents several major trends and artists, including:
- Modern Chinese ink painting movements in Taiwan and Hong Kong from the mid-1950s to the 1970s;
- 1980s new ink painting;
- 1990s experimental ink painting in China; and
- Works by overseas Chinese ink painters in the last several decades.
Two monumental paintings are on view for the first time: Chan (1974) by Lui Shou-kwan of Hong Kong, and Ended Season by local painter Zheng Chongbin, which is the first contemporary Chinese art work commissioned by the Asian Art Museum (on display beginning mid-March).
The paintings are on view in the Chinese painting gallery on the second floor.
Why do we always have new art on display?
There’s a scientific reason: organic materials such as silks and natural dyes are extremely vulnerable to fading and damage. To protect these light-sensitive artworks, we display them under low lighting only, for a 6-month period every 5 years.
There’s also another reason: we have so many treasures in storage that sometimes it’s just fun to put them on display for our visitors. So please enjoy!
Curator Joseph Chang is the Senior Research Fellow, Chinese Painting and Calligraphy in the museum’s Research Institute.