Hung Liu: Women Who Work

Hung Liu grew up in China during the time of Mao’s Cultural Revolution.  She labored in the wheat and rice fields for 364 days per year, with only one day off, for four years, as part of her “re-education.” Hung Liu painted throughout her time in the Cultural Revolution, and her “My Secret Freedom” watercolor landscapes are on exhibit at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.  Hung Liu attended the Central Academy of Art in Beijing, with another great Chinese contemporary artist, Ai Wei Wei, among others.

Hung Liu was so determined to continue her art studies in the United States, that she applied to U.C. San Diego to study with Alan Kaprow, originator of Happenings in the U.S..  Though she had to defer her attendance for four long years while she was repeatedly denied a passport by the Chinese government, she ultimately received her passport and made it to the United States.  Her arrival was one of great sacrifice, because Hung Liu left behind a two year old son and her mother.  Liu arrived in the U.S. with only $20 and two suitcases.  Her trajectory quickly skyrocketed, however, and her works began to be snatched up by major U.S. museums and collectors.  Now, Hung Liu’s magnificent works are included in over 40 major museum collections in the U.S., from the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art to the Los Angeles County Museum, and all major museums in between.

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