Wǒmen (我们): Contemporary Chinese Artis, an impressively focused multimedia exhibition that explores how an emerging generation of female artists from China artistically mediates cultural and sociopolitical conditions of life in the rapidly globalized context of contemporary China. Two prints by Chinese-born American Hung Liu from the Kemper Art Museum’s permanent collection will anchor the exhibition, which is curated by the inaugural recipients of the Arthur Greenberg Curatorial Fellowship.
Taking as their point of departure artworks by Hung Liu (born 1948), a Chinese-American artist who came to prominence after emigrating from China to the United States in the mid-1980s, Wǒmen (我们) concentrates on China since it emerged from the social, political, and economic disarray of the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976) as one of the most radically transformed countries in today’s world. While the artworks by Hung Liu, from the collection of the Kemper Art Museum, attempt to recover the erased history of China (a result of the Cultural Revolution) and dwell on such issues as Westernization and feminist identity politics, more recent artworks by a generation of female artists born in the 1960s and 1970s, which comprise the majority of work in this exhibition, demonstrate an investment in the effects of a homogenized, capitalized, and globalized China. With topics including the impact of global mobility (Yin Xiuzhen) and standardized urban housing (Xing Danwen), the performative online construction of a virtual city (Cao Fei), loneliness and identity struggles stemming from China’s one-child policy (Chen Ke and Cui Xiuwen), and the radical merging of high and low art through forms of digital photography (Chen Man), the artworks in this exhibition share an aesthetic of artificiality and fictionality, all of which variously respond to a country that in a very short period of time completely reinvented itself.
Wǒmen (我们): Contemporary Chinese Art is the inaugural exhibition of the Arthur Greenberg Curatorial Fellowship, an initiative made possible through the generosity of James Cohan and named in memory of Arthur Greenberg, both of whom are alumni of Washington University. As undergraduate students, these two art history majors curated an exhibition in what was then the Washington University Gallery of Art—an experience that launched both of them into a career-long engagement with the visual arts. The Fellowship is jointly sponsored by the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts and the Department of Art History & Archaeology in Arts & Sciences. It is a competitive program that offers outstanding undergraduate students in art history the opportunity to curate an exhibition in the Museum’s Teaching Gallery.
The student curators are Samantha Allen, Elizabeth Korb, and Danielle Wu. Faculty advisors are Kristina Kleutghen, assistant professor in the Department of Art History & Archaeology, and Meredith Malone, associate curator, Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum. Located in the Teaching Gallery, the exhibition will remain on view from January 25, 2013 to May 26, 2013.
Courtesy of the artists and the Kemper Art Museum, for further information please visit kemperartmuseum.wustl.edu.