The exhibition showcases Liu’s most recent paintings, primarily of children, inspired by Dorothea Lange’s Dust Bowl-era photography. Liu’s paintings depict children growing up during hard times, struggling to safeguard the joy and innocence of childhood. Though barely able to care for themselves, these children find the compassion to care for each other and for animals. Liu’s exhibition title alludes to her memory of a book she read 50 years prior when she was a student in China–Catcher in the Rye. Like “Catcher” in Salinger’s novel, it is the idealistic child who tries to keep society from falling off the edge into oblivion, both literally and metaphorically.
Hung Liu is no stranger to the loss of childhood. She endured forced “re-education” working 364 days/year in the wheat fields of the Chinese countryside during Mao’s Cultural Revolution. Her own father was placed in prison for fighting against the communists, and her mother destroyed their family photographs to protect them from governmental retaliation. Hung met her father for the first time when she was 46, shortly before he died. Because her own family photographs had been taken from her, Hung has devoted her artistic career to collecting photographs of dispossessed people such as these children, memorializing her adopted “family” in her paintings.
This major exhibition of Liu’s paintings at Turner Carroll foreshadows two highly anticipated Hung Liu retrospective exhibitions at the Ullens Art Center in Beijing (2019), and the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery (2021).
Liu arrived in the U.S. from China in 1984 and embraced the idea of artistic freedom. She had been trained as a Social Realist painter, and pushed the envelope of what was acceptable to the Chinese government from her years at the Central Academy of Art in Beijing. Artist David Hockney noted her tenacity in his China Diaries, in which he wrote Hung Liu’s subject matter “surely would not have been permitted during the Cultural Revolution.” Her painterly style developed as a method of challenging the strict confines of her training in China; her practice of painting evolved to express freedom through washes of color on canvas and drips of paint. From 1984 to 2015, Liu depicted primarily Chinese subjects, from prostitutes and concubines to peasants and laborers, using historic photographic collections as source material to explore the struggles and strength of the people in her own country who were displaced by political or natural forces. Since 2015, when Liu developed an affinity for Dorothea Lange’s Dust-Bowl era photography, she has painted American stories of trial and perseverance.
Opening Reception Friday, July 19, 2019 from 5 to 7pm; brief comments by Hung Liu at 6pm.
Can’t Lock Me Up: Women Resist Silence
Opening reception Friday, March 29, from 5-7 pm.
Artwork in the exhibition may be viewed here.
“When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful. We realize the importance of our voices only when we are silenced.” Malala Yousafzai, Pakistan
A massive, global problem exists in our shared human history. Since the beginning of civilization, women’s biology has been used against them in attempts to silence them, shame them, and to limit their access to education and power by locking them up literally or metaphorically. Perhaps born from fear of the sheer power women inherently possess in their ability to create new life, society has weaponzied the female body through language, images, and the threat of sexual violence. It’s time to admit this problem exists, examine how society perpetuates it, and do everything in our power to solve it.
Part of the problem is the pejorative language we use to describe aspects of female biology–from menstruation to menopausal hormonal, appearance, and emotional shifts. Women who are bleeding are called “dirty,” “cursed,” and forced to endure “ritual sequestration”—a euphemism for ostracization of women from society during menstruation. In Nepal, women are forced into menstrual huts where they sometimes die. UNICEF, the U.N. child advocacy agency, reports that in Zambia, school attendance becomes less consistent after fifth grade because most girls lack access to feminine hygiene supplies. This keeps women from receiving the education that would help them enrich not only their personal lives, but their entire societies.
Universally, women are called “hags” and “witches” as their aging skin sags and their worth as objects of beauty is diminished. From the second millenium B.C. in Egypt, women were deemed “hysterical” when they displayed emotional behavior connected with monthly hormonal shifts. The Greek physician Hippocrates believed women became “hysterical” when their uterus (hysteron) was not sexually satisfied, and that the only cure for female hysteria was sex. If a woman rejected sex to “cure” her hysteria, the explanation was that she was “possessed” by a “demonic” type of mental illness, for which one cure was fire, as in the later practice of burning a witch at the stake. The Latin word for woman, foemina, is formed from fe and minus, that is she “who has less faith.” As Phyllis Chesler points out in her Women and Madness, it comes as no surprise that due to these associations of insanity and deviance with female hormones, many patients in early mental institutions were menopausal women. Artist Monica Lundy explores this trend of locking women up and silencing them by labeling them “crazy” for behavior such as “flirtation” and “disobedience.” She paints images of female inmates of a Roman mental institution, using coffee, charcoal, and burned paper.
Another part of the problem is the way images have been used throughout history to reinforce these pejorative stereotypes of women. Female nudes in museums rarely look the viewer in the eye, but are depicted with a diverted, subjugated gaze instead. When female public figures express their legitimate outrage, they are quickly discredited with photographic images featuring them with mouth open, finger wagging, wild-eyed demonic rage. It’s as if when a woman uses her power and her voice, she is seen as the embodiment of Lilith herself. Conversely, when men express anger, aggression, pain, or sadness in images, they might be thought of as powerful, passionate, assertive, professional, or sensitive. Thus, the way we have historically used images discredits women even before they speak, shunning them into silence and perpetuating belief in their inferiority.
Perhaps our biggest societal problem is how women have been historically subjugated through sexual violence. Sexual violence is a gender-based hate crime; the UN describes it as “a problem of pandemic proportions. Statistically, at least one out of every three women around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise physically or emotionally abused in her lifetime.” Forms of such sexual abuse include female infanticide, forced prostitution, genital mutilation, forced abortion, honor killings, dowry violence, rape, domestic violence, sexual harassment, marital rape, stoning, flogging, sexual trafficking, forced marriage, denial of medical care, and sexual slavery. These crimes hurt women psychologically, sexually, and physically and leave them feeling broken, fearful for their safety, and in pain.
Though 189 countries ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women in the 1980s, horrific crimes against women persist. Soraya Manutchehri was buried to her waist then brutally stoned to death in Iran for “being an inconvenient wife.” Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head for speaking out for girls’ right to attend school. More than 400 Nigerian schoolgirls were abducted from their school and forced to marry their captor-assaulters. 7000 Yazidi women and girls have been repeatedly sold as sex slaves in ISIS-controlled Syrian markets, and over half of them are still enslaved. Myanmar’s troops systematically raped Muslim Rohingya women to spread terror and force them to flee the country. Rwandan military raped virtually every surviving Tutsi female over the age of 12 in the Rwandan genocide. Femicide is still prevalent in China; according to a current UN report, femicide is often conducted in “the most cruel means” such as stabbing, beating and strangling, which, it said, reflects misogyny. “This means there has not been success in changing the cultural patterns that devalue women and consider them disposable, allowing for a social permissiveness in the face of violence and its ultimate expression, femicide,” the report said. Artist Hung Liu has devoted her entire artistic career to preserving the memory of these otherwise forgotten, nameless women forced into sexual submission.
In the U.S., rape culture is rampant as the media normalizes sexual violence. Popular culture dismisses the profane, insulting words U.S. President and sexual assault perpetrator Donald Trump uses to describe the way he habitually assaults women as merely “locker room talk.” U.S. citizens tolerate their President using language such as “low IQ individual,” “unhinged,” “nasty,” and “blood coming out of her…everywhere” to vilify women. Through the normalization of this type of misogynistic and violent language, the objectification of women’s bodies, and the glamorization of sexual violence, we perpetuate a society that disregards women’s rights and safety.
Why do women remain silent about these human rights tragedies they endure? How could it be that women could have helped elect someone so dangerous to their safety and dignity? Equally confounding: why would an undeniably accomplished, confident, qualified first woman presidential candidate–stay silent while a man far less formidable than herself invaded her debate space? Why was she pushed to publish her chocolate chip cookie recipe to gain public trust? Because we accept social norms demanding women act with such courteous and deferential self-control. From a young age, boys’ rowdiness is tolerated, while girls are rewarded with praise and good grades for their silence and social composure.
What can we do to solve this problem of subverting and silencing women? We can take every opportunity to speak out about the ways women have been enslaved mentally, metaphorically, physically—throughout the world. Rather than just describing the atrocities, we can demand action on their behalf, and we can take action ourselves, no matter how small. We can call out societal degradation, discrediting, and sexual domination of women when we perceive it. Turner Carroll is proud to exhibit women artists from throughout the world who speak the truth for themselves and their sisters who might have a harder time finding their voice. Artists like Fatemeh Baigmoradi, whose photographs with controversial members burned out of them help us remember a tragic history. Artists like Hung Liu, who has dedicated her life to painting disenfranchised women as quasi-imperial, transforming their pain into beauty, telling their stories with a grace they did not experience in their lifetimes. Artists like Lien Truong, who uses traditionally feminine media such as painted silk, 24-karat gold thread, and embroidery to tackle international issues of domination and resistance in her paintings. Artists like Judy Chicago and Jenny Holzer, who had to be loud and brash with their words and images when they started expressing these sentiments even before feminist art was defined. Artists like Sheri Crider, whose art expresses transformation of incarcerated women, and Monica Lundy, whose paintings tell the stories of women placed in mental institutions simply for not being silent.
It is our responsibility as human beings to speak up and act out on behalf of the women who make up half the world’s population. In the words of 2018 Nobel Peace Prize winner and Yazidi former ISIS sex slave Nadia Murad: “If we do not want to repeat cases of rape and crimes against women, we must hold to account those who have used sexual violence as a weapon to commit crimes. I do not seek sympathy, I seek action.”
Tonya Turner Carroll
Turner Carroll Gallery
October 26, 2018
Opening Reception Friday, October 26, 5-7pm
Turner Carroll Gallery is pleased and excited to announce the Hung Liu/Trillium Award and creation of a scholarship through the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art. Twelve pieces have been curated by Turner Carroll and will be sold to fund this endowment. The award and scholarship will be given annually to an MFA student at the University of Oregon.
This collection presents a unique opportunity to acquire a significant Hung Liu mixed media work while seeding the award endowment. This endowment connects the planned major exhibition of Hung’s work—accompanied by a comprehensive monograph—with the acquisition of 55 Hung Liu artworks by JSMA for their permanent collection.
The idea for this award grew out of Hung Liu’s personal trajectory as an artist. She knows the tribulations of being a committed painter struggling financially and culturally. She is an immigrant from China who arrived in the U.S. to begin her graduate studies in art at UC San Diego with two suitcases and $20. Because she had amazing mentors in her graduate program, including the great Alan Kaprow, Hung has been able to reach the highest tier of contemporary art. Her paintings are now in the collections the Metropolitan Museum of Art, SFMoMA, and the Whitney Museum of American Art among others. In addition, the National Portrait Gallery is currently working on her retrospective that will open in May 2021.
Hung comes from a long line of professors. Her grandfather, mother, husband, son, as well as Hung, herself, worked in academia, and have taken pride in the strong relationships they developed with their students. Hung wants part of her legacy to be not only the artwork she leaves behind, but also the impact she has on talented young artists. Via the Hung Liu/Trillium Award and scholarship, Hung’s work will live on by fostering students’ ability to fund their education and practice to fulfill their artistic visions. Hung chose the JSMA as the recipient of this endowment due to its founding by and commitment to strong women leaders, as well as its impeccable collection of Asian art.
The purchase of these impressive works will add not only great beauty to your collection, but will also make a lasting contribution to civilization by supporting future artists like Hung who are determined to make the world a better place.
Work in the exhibition may be viewed here.
For more information and high resolution images, please visit https://www.turnercarrollgallery.com/press-area/ or email@example.com
March 16 – April 4, 2018 | Hung Liu: Women Who Work (In Conjunction with Liu’s Exhibition at National Museum of Women in the Arts)
March 16- April 4, 2018
Opening Reception Friday, March 16, 5-7pm
Hung Liu is well known throughout the United States, Europe, and China, for her heart-wrenching imagery of laborers. Liu was trained as a muralist at the Central Academy of Art in Mao’s China, and many of the now thoroughly famous Chinese pop contemporary artists regard her as their “big sister” in the art world. Liu’s works until 2016 were quasi-icons for the Chinese workers and concubines whose spirits might be forgotten if not preserved in her works. These personae were so dear to her because she labored alongside them in the wheat fields for four long years during the Cultural Revolution.
Liu later immigrated to the United States, leaving her entire family and all she knew behind in China. She had to start over, with only two suitcases and $20. A testament to her dedication to her art, her paintings, tapestries, prints, and installations can now be seen in more than 40 major museums in the U.S., from the Metropolitan Museum of Art to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. With the same determination Liu harnessed to create images that are universally poignant, she mastered every artistic medium she could explore, in her constant effort to get her message of human compassion into the world. Thus, Liu embraces lithography, etching, monotype, jacquard tapestry, photography, and experimental printmaking as part of her art practice. These editioned works are equally compelling as her paintings, and as a tribute to Liu’s mastery of these media, she received the National Award for Lifetime Achievement in Printmaking.
The National Museum of Women in the Arts is hosting a solo exhibition of Hung Liu’s prints and tapestries from January through July of this year. Turner Carroll Gallery has represented Liu’s works for more than a decade, and is thrilled to present the Turner Carroll exhibition Hung Liu: Women Who Work, in conjunction with Liu’s exhibition at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. This milestone exhibition is comprised of decades of Liu’s editions, including her prints on paper, duotone photographs backed with gold leaf and mounted to panel, lithographs, and monumental jacquard tapestries. Turner Carroll is excited to share Liu’s breadth of skill with art enthusiasts, and will have materials on hand to help viewers explore the various media and symbolism Liu employs.
The National Museum of Women in the Arts writes of its exhibition: we “invite viewers to explore the relationship between the artist’s multi-layered paintings and the palpable, physical qualities of her works on paper. ‘To make her prints, Liu (b. 1948) uses an array of printing and collage techniques, developing highly textured surfaces, veils of color, and screens of drip marks that transform the figures in each composition. Describing printmaking as poetry, she emphasizes the spontaneity of the layering process, which allows each image to build organically with each successive layer’.”
Work in the exhibition may be viewed here.
For more information and high resolution images, please visit https://www.turnercarrollgallery.com/press-area/ or firstname.lastname@example.org
Dates: August 5, 2017 – November 26, 2017
Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, 314 S. Park Street, Kalamazoo, MI 49007 (269) 349-7775
Adults: $5 KIA members: free Students with ID: $2 Youth 12 & under, school groups, and active military: Free
Contact & More Info:
Phone: (269) 349-7775
Female strength in the face of persecution is the thread running through this exhibition of 20 mixed media, painted, and photographic works by Hung Liu. Her imagery shows the power and perseverance of Chinese women throughout history “from imperial concubines to warriors of the Red Army and survivors of the Cultural Revolution (like herself). Her paintings and prints often make use of anonymous Chinese historical photographs, particularly those of women, children, refugees, and soldiers. This exhibition presents visions of determined, strong, beautiful warriors “fragmentary glimpses of unknown women, enveloped within new lives of beauty and dignity.
Hung Liu American Dream Opening Reception Friday, July 7, 5-7pm Hung Liu’s career has been built upon her signature portrayal of imagery from her Chinese homeland, yet she has made her home in the United States since 1984. In her newest body of work, Liu explores her American identity through the iconic imagery of Dust Bowl Era (particularly Dorothy Lange’s) photography.
Born in China to a captain in Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist Army, Hung Liu’s father was captured by Communist forces and imprisoned in a labor camp. Hung and her mother fled to Beijing, where they survived Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Forward and the mass famine it induced. Hung’s mother destroyed all family photos depicting Hung’s father in order to protect Hung from the Mao regime, which viewed Nationalists and their families as enemies of the people. Hung thus came to treasure family photographs, whether they depicted her own family or someone else’s.
When Hung was sent to the countryside for proletarian “re-education” at age 20, toiling in rice and wheat fields 364 days/year for four long years, a friend asked Hung to safeguard her camera. During that time, Hung took secret photographs of her fellow Chinese laborers. These photographs became her collective family album; they are the basis for her iconic portraits in which she has memorialized these workers’ humanity for the last thirty years of her painting practice.
Liu became interested in Lange’s imagery through their shared passion of capturing the dignity of their subjects. Historically, Liu’s work has carried the themes of migration, labor, oppression, and marginalization, and these themes continue through and tie together this newest series. Through her art, Liu recognizes the power inherent in the struggle of Dust Bowl and Great Depression Era migrant workers, field hands, immigrants, and disenfranchised minorities. Vivid strokes of vibrancy crack through what is a predominantly muted color palette as if to breathe new life into the pale ghosts of the dispossessed. Hung speaks of the Americans in her paintings as her ancestors, even though she is from China: “we adopt each other’s children, why shouldn’t we adopt each other’s ancestors, as well?”
This exploration is meant to act as a magnifying lens for the current global refugee crisis, driven by war, ecological disaster, and famine. Caught amid a global political climate of growing fear and distrust, Hung Liu makes a potent statement about our place as moral citizens of common history.
Opening Reception Friday, July 7, 2017 from 5 to 7pm
[n.b. that this event takes place in Santa Fe]
Hung Liu Women Warriors Kalamazoo Institute of Arts Exhibition is made possible with assistance from Turner Carroll Gallery in Santa Fe.
Female strength in the face of persecution is the thread running through Women Warriors: Portraits by Hung Liu, opening at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts August 5.
The exhibition contains 20 mixed-media, painted, and photographic works that show the power and perseverance of Chinese women throughout history–from imperial concubines to warriors of the Red Army and survivors of the Cultural Revolution–like herself.
Hung Liu has exhibited widely throughout the U.S. and internationally. Her paintings and installations are in collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. She is a two-time recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts painting fellowship, and is Professor Emerita of Studio Art at Mills College, Oakland, CA.
Liu was born to a captain in the Nationalist Army of Chiang Kai-shek in Changchun, China in 1948. Her father was captured by Communist forces, and imprisoned in a labor camp. When Hung was 11, she and her mother fled to Beijing, where she survived Mao Zedong’s “Great Leap Forward” and the mass famine it induced. To protect the family, Liu’s mother destroyed all the photographs he was in.
Sent into the countryside at 20 for “reeducation” Hung Liu worked every day for four years as a farm laborer. It was there she began to secretly take photographs with a friend’s camera–some of which are seen in her current work.
“This exhibition presents visions of determined, strong, beautiful warriors–fragmentary glimpses of unknown women–enveloped within new lives of beauty and dignity,” says KIA Executive Director Belinda Tate.
Hung’s work often makes use of anonymous Chinese historical photographs, particularly those of women, children, refugees, and soldiers. Many are based on photographs of Chinese concubines and prostitutes she discovered in an old shop when she returned to China in 1990. Hung says “the majority of girls were sold by poor families. Girls were not as precious as boys; they could not carry on the family name.”
Liu points out that photography in China, originally used by the royal court, commodified these oppressed concubines even as it gave them a place in history alongside the highest strata of society. She strives to give these anonymous women a new life of beauty, often employing gold or silver leaf along with symbols of rebirth, immortality, wisdom, and good fortune between layers of resin. The resulting images are amalgamations of beauty, history, and transformation.
Viewers may wonder about the circles and drips in Hung Liu’s paintings. The circle references immortality and infinity, and functions as the period at the end of a Chinese sentence. In school in China, Hung’s instructor would circle his favorite part of her work. She suggests the drips represent the blurring of memory, reinforcing our responsibility to remember the past clearly: every day is Memorial Day, every day is Thanksgiving.
An opening celebration for the exhibition is set for Friday, August 4, 5-8 pm at the museum, as part of August Art Hop. Admission is free.
This exhibition is organized with the assistance of Turner Carroll Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico, and supported in Kalamazoo by the Joy Light East Asian Art Acquisition and Exhibition Fund. It will be on view in the museum’s Joy Light Gallery For Asian Art.
About the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts believes the visual arts are for everyone, and that they inspire, transform, and fulfill. Chartered in 1924 as private non-profit organization, the KIA offers opportunities to explore, enjoy, and create art. With more than 4,700 fine artworks in its permanent collection, the museum presents collection-based and touring exhibitions in 10 long-term and changing galleries. The Kirk Newman Art School hosts four terms of community-based art classes for all ages.
A link to the exhibition at KIA is here.
In a civilization where more than 51% of the population is female, yet 96% of exhibition space is given to men, it’s time for a change. In honor of National Women’s History Month and in celebration of uniquely brilliant female perspective, Turner Carroll features important women artists all month. Artists include an international roster including Nina Tichava, Raphaelle Goethals, Hung Liu, Squeak Carnwath, Karen Yank, Jamie Brunson, Mavis McClure, Jenny Abell, Suzanne Sbarge, Holly Roberts, and Brenda Zappitell.
Opening Reception Friday, March 10, 2017 from 5 to 7pm
[n.b. that this event takes place in Santa Fe]
A lot of Hung Liu’s art starts with an old, black and white photograph from China. Most of the subjects in the photos are anonymous.
“You don’t know anything about this person,” says the Chinese-American artist from Oakland. The anonymity, she explains, gives her the freedom to take something specific and universalize it. “I will never know her name, but her image will be enshrined, in a way.”
Take one photo of an old woman cooking on a big stove that became the inspiration for Luzao (Stove), pictured above. “Definitely, she’s not cooking for herself,” Liu says. “Reminds me a little of my grandma. She made shoes, but she cooked every day, day in, day out.”
Located at the Fashion Industry Gallery, adjacent to the Dallas Museum of Art in the revitalized downtown arts district. Featuring new works by gallery artists Fausto Fernandez, Hung Liu, Squeak Carnwath, Drew Tal, Jamie Brunson, Rusty Scruby, Edward Lentsch, Wanxin Zhang, Suzanne Sbarge, Karen Yank, Scott Greene, Holly Roberts, and more! Fair hours are Friday and Saturday, April 15 and 16 respectively, from 11am to 7pm, and Sunday, April 17 from 12pm to 6pm, with an opening preview gala Thursday, April 14.
A link to the Dallas Art Fair is here.
A retrospective of one of the most significant Chinese-American contemporary artists living today, the exhibition Summoning Ghosts: The Art of Hung Liu explores Hung Liu’s life and career through approximately 80 works of art from private and public collections, including two signature works from the Kemper Museum’s Permanent Collection. Organized by Oakland Museum of Contemporary Art’s
Senior Curator of Art, René de Guzman, the exhibition is accompanied by a major publication that provides the most comprehensive account of Liu’s body of work to date. Summoning Ghosts: The Art of Hung Liu is on view October 10, 2014–January 11, 2015, at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Missouri. A collection of rare photographs, and early paintings, all made in China prior to Liu’s immigration to the United States in 1984 will be displayed in the KemperEast gallery. Admission to all Kemper Museum locations is free.