A Question of Hu: The Narrative Art of Hung Liu

Aug. 22–Dec. 2, 2023
Tuesday through Saturday, Times vary

The following description was submitted by the event organizer.

Groundbreaking Chinese American artist Hung Liu (1948–2021) made highly narrative images that foregrounded workers, immigrants, refugees, women, children, and soldiers in haunting, incandescent portraits that mingle Chinese and Western artistic traditions. Liu was born in Changchun, China, and her childhood and youth coincided with one of the most tumultuous periods in Chinese history. After she arrived in San Diego, California, in 1984, Liu became one of the first Chinese artists to establish a career in the United States. Decades later, she would be justly celebrated for establishing novel frameworks for understanding visual art’s relationship to history by focusing on communities misrepresented and marginalized by official narratives.

Featuring highly experimental painting, printing, and weaving techniques, Liu’s challenging yet accessible oeuvre has been aptly characterized by her husband, the art critic Jeff Kelley, as a species of “weeping realism.” Titled A Question of Hu, after China scholar Jonathan Spence’s 1988 book The Question of Hu, the exhibition reintroduces Liu’s remarkable art to the Pacific Northwest while demonstrating — as few artistic oeuvres can — an expanded view of citizenship in an era of seismic change that is also fundamentally marked by evolving ideas of artistic solidarity and collaboration.

This exhibition is curated by Christian Viveros-Fauné in conjunction with Converge 45 Biennial Program, Social Forms: Art As Global Citizenship.

"I paint from historical photographs of people; the majority of them had no name, no bio, no story left. Nothing. I feel they are kind of lost souls, spirit ghosts. My painting is a memorial site for them." —Hung Liu

Opening Reception: August 24, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.

Guided public tours led by JSMA staff:

  • Sat, September 2, 2023 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
  • Sat, October 7, 2023 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
  • Sat, November 4, 2023 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Tours cover highlights of the exhibition. The final November tour will also discuss the second exhibition on view Mundos posibles / Possible Worlds.

Upcoming Dates & Times

Tuesday, Nov. 28
11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Wednesday, Nov. 29
11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Thursday, Nov. 30
11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 1
11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 2
11 a.m. – 5 p.m.