wu guanzhong

Revolutionary Ink: The Paintings of Wu Guanzhong

by Melissa Chiu



Wu Guanzhong (1919–2010) stands as one of the most important artists of twentieth-century China. He was highly prolific both in oil and ink painting and is well known for his eloquent writings on art and creativity. This exhibition comprises more over 50 paintings spanning the mid-1970s to 2004 that focus on his best works in the medium of ink.

The exhibition and publication trace the development of Wu’s work, and emphasizes his radical individual approach to the medium of ink painting and how it went against the trend at a time when most artists were looking to western art as a model. The publication reinforces Wu’s legacy as a modern master who pushes the boundaries of our understanding of how a traditional medium of ink can be made new for a new century. The catalogue includes essays by leading Chinese and American scholars as well as selections from essays by the artist translated for the first time into English.

Revolutionary Ink: The Paintings of Wu Guanzhong is organized by Asia Society Museum and the Shanghai Art Museum, one of China’s leading cultural institutions to which the artist gave many of his works. The exhibition is curated by Melissa Chiu of Asia Society and Lu Huan of Shanghai Art Museum.  Editor: Melissa Chiu (Asia Society, Apr 2012, HC, 231pp)

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New York Times Review of Revolutionary Ink: The Paintings of Wu Guanzhong

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About the Author


Melissa Chiu

Australian American

Dr. Melissa Chiu was previously Director of the Asia Society Museum and Senior Vice President for its Global Arts and 
Cultural Programs. She is a leading authority on Asian contemporary art. Dr. Chiu has curated nearly thirty exhibitions of international art including projects with Shirin Neshat, Cai Guo-Qiang, Zhang Huan and Yoshitomo Nara. Her scholarly contributions include editor, Asian contemporary art and Asian American art chapters for Oxford Art Online, and is the author and editor of several books, monographs, and anthologies, such as “Breakout: Chinese Art Outside China” (Charta); the first-ever introductory books on the topic of Asian contemporary art, Asian Art Now” ( Monacelli Press),“Contemporary Asian Art” (Thames and Hudson) and an anthology of collected writings “Contemporary Art in Asia: A Critical Reader” (MIT Press).

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