Hung Liu is a part of an important exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art titled “Stranger in a Strange Land: Art of California Works by Hung Liu, Charles Wong, and Martin Wong The exhibition runs from March through September 2018.
Nancy Lim, Assistant Curator of Painting and Sculpture at SFMOMA writes “In 1968, under Mao Tse-Tung’s sweeping “Down to the Countryside Movement,” twenty-year-old Hung Liu was resettled in rural China for proletariat reeducation. Far from the urban comforts of Beijing, she labored in the fields, toiling alongside other “sent-down youth” for the creation of a Communist utopia. Upon her return to the capital in 1972, she enrolled in university as an art student – but chafing under the state’s exclusive demands for propaganda, she escaped each day to Beijing’s desolate outskirts. There, in peace, she painted the landscapes of her self-named “Secret Freedom” series, delighting in these humble studies of color, composition, and form. But her modest subjects, such as a toilet rather than a rosy-cheeked Mao, incited questions from her roommate: Did they “sing great songs for the Party”? Why was she painting them? What was her political status? Liu ignored this surveillance and made more than five hundred works, keeping faith, year after year, in the joy and fierce necessity of free expression.”
15 April 2018