Spring 2017
Hung Liu Studio Newsletter

"With Liberty & Justice for Some," The San Francisco Women's March Speech, Chinese for Affirmative Action Mural Repair, Oxbow School Residency,  Friends, Press, & Publications

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Welcome to the Hung Liu Studio newsletter for the Spring of 2017. Besides painting in the studio, Hung has been involved in a political exhibition in Los Angeles, the San Fransisco Women's March, the renovation - after 29 years - of her community mural in the Chinese for Affirmative Action building in Chinatown, and - with Jeff - a residency at the Oxbow Art School in Napa, California, which brings High School Juniors from around the world for one semester of intensive art study. Moreover, Hung is working toward solo exhibitions at the Rena Bransten Gallery, Dogpatch, and the Turner Carroll Gallery, Santa Fe. Stay tuned! 

With Liberty and Justice For Some
Walter Maciel Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
January 7 - March 4, 2017

Hung Liu from China, Gina Tuzzi

W ith Liberty and Justice for Some,   an invitational exhibition f eaturing the works of over 100 contemporary artists invited to create portraits of immigrants to the United States. The show is a statement about the many fears surrounding the travel ban imposed through executive order by our new president, and a powerful response rejecting the policies of exclusion that threaten to disrupt the social fabric.  
As soon as the shock of the election wore off, it became clear that art professionals needed to mobilize and create a positive message of hope.
LA Show
Fredrick Drumpf, Michael Hall
 Suddenly so many communities are finding themselves under duress, attack and even deportation.  We began discussing our fears and challenges in hopes of sparking ideas to unite us and protect the laws that support minority communities.  Part of that dialog included an idea brought by Monica Lundy, an artist working in the San Francisco Bay Area and previously exhibited at Walter Maciel Gallery, who envisioned a collaborative group show allowing artist to comment on their anger and frustration within our new political system. The conversation was further enhanced by gallery artist Hung Liu, and together Walter Maciel Gallery decided to feature portraits of immigrants; examining the very notion of our country's foundation as a melting pot of individuals who emigrated from other places. 
LA Show
Mami, Yvette Deas

For the project, we invited artists across the country to do 8 x 8 inch portraits of various individuals who came to the United States as immigrants including historic subjects, personal friends and relatives, strangers and self portraits.  Several renderings simultaneously include disenfranchised communities, such as African Americans, LGBTQ persons, Mexicans, Muslims, Jews, refugees and women, thus representing many of the communities being threatened by the new administration. The work includes many different mediums such as acrylic and oil paint on canvas, mixed media and collage on panel, photography, drawings and other works on paper.
LA Show
Bela Lugosi, Monica Lundy
The culmination of specifically selected portraits will be assembled in an installation depicting the American Flag while others are grouped together to celebrate the diversity of our country. Some of the notable subjects include actor Bela Lugosi, entertainer Grace Jones, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Jamaican political leader Marcus Mosiah Garvey Jr., Architect I. M. Pei, Province of Pennsylvania founder William Penn and several established artists such as Hung Liu, David Hockney, Marcel Duchamp, Enrique Chagoya, Wanxin Zhang and Julie Mehretu.  Two gallery artists, Maria E. Piñeres and Nike Schröder, will present self portraits.
A major part of the exhibition is our commitment to support many valuable organizations that we feel will be compromised under the new administration, and who continue fighting for the rights and privileges of our communities. With the support of all of the artists involved in the project, we are donating a portion of each sale to various non-profits including ACLU, Planned Parenthood, The Trevor Project, Center for Reproductive Rights and the LA and SF LGBT Centers.  

Walter Maciel Gallery extends a heartfelt thank you to Monica Lundy in our appreciation for her time, passion, dedication and overall organization in making this important exhibition possible.  We encourage as much support and devotion in making the transition into our new America less fearful. 

 - Walter Maciel Gallery




Portraits by Hung Liu: Top-left to bottom left, clockwise: Chen Bing, Freddy Chandra, Ling Chen Kelley,         Zhang Wanxin.

LA Show
Portraits arranged as an American flag.

The Opening

LA Show

LA Show

LA Show
With Monica & Walter


Celebrate the opening of brand new exhibition
We Who Work; Prints and Tapestries by Hung Liu.

Zhuangjia (Crop), Hung Liu, 2008, Courtesy of Paulson Bott Press
ARTIST TALK | 5:30-6:30PM | Auditorium | Catch an artist talk from internationally renowned artist  Hung Liu. Growing up under the Maoist regime, Hung Liu uses historical Chinese photographs to create vibrant prints and tapestries that honor everyday workers. She lives in Oakland and exhibits internationally.
ART ACTIVITY | 5:00-9:00PM | Classroom| Get messy and make collagraph prints on top of historical photographs of Santa Cruz laborers.
LIVE MUSIC | 6:30-9pm | Atrium |  Blue Summit | Enjoy an exciting repertoire of originals and covers spanning the genres of Bluegrass, Folk, Western Swing, Jazz, Blues and more.
FREE EXHIBITIONS | Explore three floors of exhibitions for free.
We Who Work; Prints and Tapestries by Hung Liu-  What does "work" look like?  Explore vibrant, mixed media portraits of laborers by Hung Liu. Learn about low wage work in Santa Cruz by  Working for Dignity. Learn stories from workers in Santa Cruz County.


Women's March, San Francisco

O n a rainy Saturday, January 21, 2017, Hung Liu spoke in front of 100,000 people at the Women's March at San Francisco's Civic Center. The march was organized to protest the threats  to the common good represented by the  45th president of the United States. Nearly 3 million people marched peacefully throughout the United States, and many more worldwide. Hung's speech spoke of the need for all of us to "carry each other" during dark and stormy times.


Chinese for Affirmative Action Mural Repair, 1988-2017
Chinatown, San Francisco

Reading Room
A Mural-Installation by Hung Liu
"Reading Room," a mural installation by artist Hung Liu, represents the evolution of the Chinese written language from the Neolithic Period to the present day. Organized as a horizontal scroll, the mural depicts a succession of ideograms as well as the artifacts upon which they were incised, painted, and printed - including animal bones, stones, ceramic vessels, bamboo, silk, mulberry paper, and bronze objects.
Suspended above the scroll at regular intervals are clusters of ancient pictographs old enough (perhaps 4,000 years) to have lost their original meanings, and poems of homesickness, bitterness, and despair written by anonymous Chinese immigrants awaiting interrogation by US Customs officials on Angel Island between 1910 and 1940. Whether ancient or recent, the voices that haunt these lines are in some sense equally lost.
By situating this mural in the Kuo Building, site of the first bookstore in San Francisco, in 1849, and the present home of Chinese for Affirmative Action, Liu recovers for the Chinatown community a sense of its ancient linguistic heritage, reminding us that languages circulate, change, are forgotten, and - one hopes - are remembered.
Originally painted in 1988, this mural was reconfigured and partially repainted by the artist in 2017 to accommodate design changes in what was previously the Reading Room and is now known as the Community Room of CAA. Special thanks are due to Ling Chi Wang, Germaine Wong, Vince Pan, Larry Mock, Chris Ahn, Jeff Kelley, and Diego Rocha (artist's assistant). 



Remodeling, 2016

Day 1 of Installation



Day 2 of Installation



The CAA Donor Reception and Mural Opening
February 8, 2017

With Simone Kuo, center, and Vincent Pan, next to Hung

With Larry Mock

With Simone Kuo

With Chris Ahn

With Germaine Wong of CAA

With the contractors

Simone Kuo, in front of a relief of both she and her late husband, who donated one half of the Kuo Building to CAA.

Oxbow Residency
Napa, California
February 19 - 28

The Oxbow School is a semester program in Napa, California focusing on studio artmaking and interdisciplinary humanities. This program provides juniors, seniors, and gap-year students the opportunity for an intensive art experience and thought-provoking academic instruction. 
The atmosphere at Oxbow is one of artistic and social exploration combined with rigorous academics designed to prepare students for college and beyond. Oxbow alumni often go on to earn distinguished art and writing awards, and earn offers of admission and win scholarships at top colleges and universities.
In an unusual move, both Hung and Jeff - as a painter and an art critic - were invited at the same time to work with the students. Hung oversaw a painting project and Jeff introduced students to some of the age's important critical concepts for contemporary art. The students were charming and committed, and very hard workers. We miss them already!



Lecture at Copia, across the river from Oxbow

Oxbow Campus 

Hung Painting



With Tracy Bates, Oxbow Chef

With Chris Thorson, Oxbow faculty member

With Dick Grace

With Ann Grace

With the Director of Oxbow School Stephen Thomas

With faculty member Patrick Foy and his son

With Patrick Foy, Jeff, Patty Curtan, & Stephen Thomas

Thank You Oxbow!

Studio Visits 

With Elizabeth Partridge (Dorothea Lange's God-Daughter), Tom, Lori Fogarty, Drew Johnson, Tom Steyer, Kat Taylor, Quinn Delany, and Wayne Jordan

Elizabeth "Bitsy" Partridge with Hung Liu (above) and Dorothea Lange (below)

Out and About

With 89 year old John Mason in his LA studio

LA Show
With John, Vernita Mason, & Jeff

Walter Maciel outside his gallery

With Monica Lundy in Los Angeles

With Monica and Maura Lundy in Los Angeles

With Jerry Barrish at Transmission Gallery in Oakland

With Kirsten Vangsness (Garcia in "Criminal Minds") at the Walter Maciel Gallery in LA

With LA artist Calida Rawles and her daughter at Walter Maciel Gallery in LA

With Amy Pleasant, artist and writer for the Huffington Post

With Lisa Carmel & Jeff in LA

With Mary Ann Millford & her daughter Dimity before the San Francisco Women's March

Chinese New Year's Eve banquet at Great China, Berkeley, with Diane Ding, Wei Lin, April Zhang, Wanxin Zhang, Greg Collins, & Jeff

Recent Press for Hung Liu

Huffington Post

"Although some may interpret this work's focus on the American Dust Bowl migration a departure from previous work because the subjects are not Chinese, Liu insists that this new work is not a pivot, but a natural extension of her previous work."

Fresno Bee

"One of the great things about her new Fresno exhibition is the way you can flit back and forth between her earlier days as a student - absorbing the furtive freshness and raw vitality of a rural Beijing - with some of her much more politically pointed works.  One of the biggest and most impressive, titled "Modern Time," is based on a banal photograph of a woman daydreaming in a conference room. On the wall behind her are four photographs that used to be found on the walls of schools and public buildings across China: the "four white guys" who helped birth the communist ideology. But Liu offers a subversive twist. She depicts Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin in the style of Van Gogh, giving a post-Impressionist hint of snark to the scene."

Read more here: http://www.fresnobee.com/entertainment/performing-arts/donald-munro/article109509982.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.fresnobee.com/entertainment/performing-arts/donald-munro/article109509982.html#storylink=cp

Huffington Post

"A recent visit to the Palm Springs Museum affirms for me that all artists are immigrants. If not in a literal sense then in a figurative sense, they are strangers to the society surrounding them. In the desert resort city, populated by celebrities in steel houses, the local museum is exceptional. At the moment, it has exhibits by both Ai Wei Wei, the Chinese dissident renowned the world over, as well as Hung Liu, a professor of painting from China who has become a citizen of America."


Washington Post

"The centerpiece of that show, Hung Liu's "Daughter of China, Resident Alien," is a pile of some 200,000 fortune  cookies atop tracks that evoke the role of Chinese labor in building American railways. In a large painting based on the artist's green card, she takes the name "Cookie, Fortune." Many of Liu's paintings are derived from photos or propaganda-film stills and dissolve realism into abstraction to represent the evaporation of Marxist-Leninist China and her memories of it."

UCSD Visual Arts Department link:

Los Angeles Times 
"Her new paintings are portraits of the most humble of flowers - dandelions - and they are spectacular."
Kansas City Star
In "Summoning Ghosts" at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Chinese-born artist Hung Liu quite literally "summons ghosts,"  bringing  the dead and willfully forgotten into our view through large paintings based on 19th and 20th century photographs taken in China.
KQED Radio
Confined in China, Ai Weiwei Directs Alcatraz Exhibit from Afar (Hung Liu interviewed), Mina Kim, September 27, 2014.  "Painter Hung Liu is close friends with Ai. Liu grew up during China's Cultural Revolution under Mao Tse-Tung, and like Ai, China's politics and culture infuse her work. She is wary of political art becoming too didactic.  'When you have a strong political agenda, a strong message, you have to be careful if you want to use art form,' the painter says.  Liu says she plans to take a serious look at Ai's Alcatraz work, and hopes others will get past his superstar status and do the same.   'Ai Weiwei's super-famous. Some people call him God Ai -  Ai shen ,' Liu says. 'I think it's little too far.'  It's important for people to continue to think critically about Ai's work, Liu says - after all, people tried to make Mao a god, too." - Mina Kim
SF Chronicle
Many contemporary painters struggle to get history into their work without looking pretentious or ideologically motivated. But big events of the late 20th century weighed so heavily on the life of Oakland painter Hung Liu that she might have found it difficult to keep history out of her work. - Kenneth Baker

Square Cylinder

It's easy to marvel at how Liu's mix of abstraction and realism draw us into the past.  Yet virtuosity alone doesn't explain the emotional pull of her painting.  So I'll venture a theory: Since Liu works from photos, her painting process is analogous to the photochemical act of "fixing" an image in the darkroom from which pictures seemingly emerge out of nowhere. Liu performs a kind of psychic translation of that act, supplementing it with lived experience and an extraordinary level of empathy.  Result: she can paint from photos and literally "summon ghosts." - David Roth

KQED Radio
Hung Liu is good at summoning ghosts -- from memory and history. She's an Oakland artist born in China, and "Summoning Ghosts" is the title of a new retrospective of her work at the Oakland Museum of California. - Cy Musiker


Hung Liu is widely considered one of the most important Chinese artists working in America today. - Interview by Rachelle Reichert
Art Practical

The spare aesthetic of the exhibition currently on view at the Mills College Art Museum belies the fullness of the Bay Area artist and educator Hung Liu's major concern: history. - Ellen Tani
Art Practical
In February 1948, the artist Hung Liu was born in Changchun, in the far north of China. Only months later, the city was the site of a major siege by the People's Liberation Army. - Matthew Harrison Tedford
Contra Costa Times

She's internationally known for her dramatic paintings, which often layer historical images with scenes from her own life or those of everyday people who didn't make it into the history books. - Angela Hill

San Francisco Chronicle/SFgate

In the early 1970s, Hung Liu, who was being trained in the strict Social Realist style required of Chinese artists at the time, surreptitiously made small landscape paintings that contained no images of Chairman Mao, heroic soldiers or happy peasants. She hid them under her bed to dry. - Jesse Hamlin



Publications (Hot off the Press)

Hung Liu: American Exodus
Introduction by Lori Fogarty
Essays by John Yau & Drew Johnson
Interview by Rachelle Reichert
Nancy Hoffman Gallery/Hung Liu Studio, 2016
Catalogues available

Hung Liu: Scales of History
Essay by Jeff Kelley
Fresno Art Museum/Hung Liu Studio, 2016
Catalogues available

Hung Liu: Daughter of China, Resident Alien
Essay by David Pagel; Conversation between Peter Selz & Jeff Kelley
American University Museum, Katzen Center, Washington DC/Hung Liu Studio, 2016
Catalogues available

(Warm off the Press)

Hung Liu: Questions from the Sky
Ed Hardy, Susan Krane
Hahrdymarks Press, 2015 

Chinese Contemporary Art
Wu Hung
Thames & Hudson

Qianshan: Grandfather's Mountain
Interview by Rachelle Reichert
Nancy Hoffman Gallery, 2013

Summoning Ghosts: The Art of Hung Liu
Essays by Wu Hung, Yiyun Li, Rene De Guzman, Karen Smith, Stephanie Hanor, Bill Berkson
216 pages,  Oakland Museum of California & The University of California Press   



Thank You!
Hung Liu Studio