Join us for an intimate exhibition walkthrough and interactive conversation with artist Zhang Hongtu, whose first major retrospective is on view at the Queens Museum until February 28, and invited guest Herb Tam, curator at the Museum of Chinese in America.
Zhang has spent the past five decades expanding the ways in which viewers perceive the world around them, skillfully drawing connections between cultures. Originally from mainland China, and New York–based since 1982, Zhang’s subject matter and styles have continued to shift resulting in a vast body of work that has allowed him to show internationally for more than 30 years.
The first U.S. survey of his work, Zhang Hongtu includes pieces from the late 1950s to the present, chronicling Zhang’s art-making from his early days in China, to his pursuit of artistic freedom in the West. By freely trading and juxtaposing East and West, high and low, past and present, Zhang works to liberate his viewers from locally-specific values that he deems outdated, and shift them into new contexts. From interpretations of European artists like Van Gogh and Picasso and remakes of ancient waterscapes of Chinese master Ma Yuan to fusions of historical Chinese iconography with American consumer products, Zhang’s work facilitates unexpected contemplation and proposes universal relevancies.
Herb Tam is the Curator and Director of Exhibitions at the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA), New York where he recently curated “Waves of Identity: 35 Years of Archiving,” an exhibition that explores the construction of Chinese American identity through MOCA’s archival materials. In 2012 he curated “America through a Chinese Lens,” which surveyed photographs of America by contemporary artists and non-professional photographers of Chinese descent. Tam has previously served as the Associate Curator at Exit Art and the Acting Associate Curator at the Queens Museum of Art. While at Exit Art, he curated “New Mirrors: Painting in a Transparent World”; and co-curated “Summer Mixtape Volume 1,” an exhibition exploring the role of pop music in the work of emerging artists. In 2007, Tam curated “A Jamaica, Queens Thing,” about the intersection between hip hop and the crack cocaine epidemic. He has also curated solo exhibitions with artists Lee Mingwei, Rafael Sanchez and Regina Jose Galindo, and has worked on historical exhibitions about urban planner Robert Moses and alternative art spaces in New York. Tam was born in Hong Kong and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. He studied at San Jose State University and earned a masters in fine arts from the School of Visual Arts, New York.
Featured Image: “Last Banquet”, 1989, Acrylic on canvas, mixed-media (laser prints, collage pages from the Red Book), 60 x 168 inches
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