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National Portrait Gallery Presents “Hung Liu: Portraits of Promised Lands”
August 27, 2021 @ 8:00 am - May 30, 2022 @ 5:00 pm UTC+0
The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery has announced “Hung Liu: Portraits of Promised Lands,” the first retrospective of the artist’s portraiture and the first major presentation of her work on the East Coast. Featuring more than 50 paintings, photographs and drawings, the Portrait Gallery’s exhibition will examine the powerful art of Hung Liu (b. 1948 in Changchun, China), from her earliest photographs and drawings made in the early 1970s to her recent large-scale paintings. Having lived through wars, political revolutions, exile and displacement, Liu presents a complex, multifaceted picture of an Asian Pacific American experience. This is the first time the Portrait Gallery will honor an Asian American woman with a solo exhibition. A virtual press preview with the curator and the artist will be held over Zoom Aug. 26 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. ET. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Portraits of Promised Lands” begins with portraits that Liu created as a field laborer during her agrarian “reeducation” in Maoist China (1968–1972), revealing the roots of her empathy for migrant workers and the compassion that her most recent portraits evoke—those inspired by Dorothea Lange’s documentary photographs of the Great Depression. The exhibition charts the evolution of Liu’s art as she immigrated to the United States in 1984, attended graduate school in California, where she studied with Moira Roth and Allan Kaprow, and rose to prominence as one of the most highly respected painters, both for her skill in representing individuals and for her commitment to human rights. “Hung Liu: Portraits of Promised Lands” will be on view from Aug. 27 to May 30, 2022, and is curated by Dorothy Moss, the National Portrait Gallery’s curator of painting and sculpture and coordinating curator for the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative.