Dimensions: 66 x 66″
Media: oil on canvas
Hung Liu is a feminist artist from China, who now lives in the U.S. In China, Liu attended the Central Academy of Fine Arts, the same renowned art institution where many of the now-known Chinese contemporary artists including Ai Wei Wei went to art school. Her “Tip Toe” explores the first tentative steps into western feminism. The dancers wear the the traditional dress of China, as they attempt to tip toe into a new world. Liu says girls were not allowed to be educated in China, much less study dance. In this painting, she shows the ambition and will of young Chinese women as they learn to exert themselves and become an active part of society. The toe shoes are also perhaps a reference to the Chinese practice of foot-binding. The difference, however, is that these young women wearing restrictive shoes are not pictured simply sitting or lying down, as objects of beauty in the manner bound-foot women were often depicted. Instead, these women attempt to dance.
Liu now has her paintings in every major art museum in the United States, as well as many abroad. In 2019, Liu will have a solo exhibition at the Ullens Art Center in Beijing–China’s equivalent of our Museum of Modern Art. 2020 brings a solo exhibition of Hung’s works at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, to be accompanied by a new monograph. The Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery will host a retrospective of Hung Liu’s paintings in 2021, in one of the most important exhibitions of her career.