Tuesday, May 26, 2015
Hung Liu Summons Ghosts in Palm Springs
The first major survey of the art of Hung Liu was organized by the Oakland Museum of California in 2013, traveled to the Kemper Art Museum in Kansas City, and made its final stop at the Palm Springs Art Museum. It's the rare knockout exhibit that makes you look differently at the world after seeing it.
Hung Liu was born in Changchung, China in 1948, survived a Cultural Revolution reeducation work camp in the 1960s, and emigrated to California in 1984, where she studied at UC San Diego and became a professor at Oakland's Mills College. Her combination of archival photography, drip painting, and sculptural elements is utterly original, and her images of mostly women and children laborers in extreme situations manage to be equally disturbing and beautiful. (Photo above is by Paul Andrews for KCUR.)
Upstairs at the Palm Springs Art Museum is a collection of gold sculptures by Ai Weiwei of the Chinese animal zodiac that look inconsequential and mannered next to Hung Liu's art, though a set was recently auctioned off in New York City for over 4 million dollars.
It is odd to keep keep stumbling across great, little known Bay Area artists while at the Palm Springs Art Museum rather than in San Francisco. Six years ago it was Mexico City turned Bay Area artist Enrique Chagoya who was the major revelation.
There's something endlessly charming about the museum as tourists happily take selfies with Duane Hansen sculptures...
...and whatever art complements one's finest desert casuals.