National Portrait Gallery

Hung Liu: Portraits of Promised Lands

Hung Liu: Portraits of Promised Lands presents the stunning work of this contemporary Chinese American artist who blended painting and photography to offer new frameworks for understanding portraiture in relation…

Exhibitions

Event Details

Category

Exhibitions

Event Starts

Aug 27, 2021

Event Ends

May 30, 2022

Hung Liu: Portraits of Promised Lands presents the stunning work of this contemporary Chinese American artist who blended painting and photography to offer new frameworks for understanding portraiture in relation to time, memory, and history.

The story of America as a destination for the homeless and hungry of the world is not only a myth. It is a story of desperation, of sadness, of uncertainty, of leaving your home. It is also a story of determination, and—more than anything—of hope.

— Hung Liu, 2017

Hung Liu (1948–2021) was a contemporary Chinese-born American artist, whose multilayered paintings established new frameworks for understanding portraiture in relation to time, memory, and history. Often sourcing her subjects from photographs, Liu elevated overlooked individuals by amplifying the stories of those who have historically been invisible or unheard. Having lived through war, political revolution, exile, and displacement, she offered a complex picture of an Asian Pacific American experience. Her portraits speak powerfully to those seeking a better life, in the United States and elsewhere. Hung Liu: Portraits of Promised Lands will be first major exhibition of the artist’s work on the East Coast. This is also the first time that a museum will focus on Liu’s portraiture.

Exhibition Catalogue

Hung Liu: Portraits of Promised Lands presents the stunning work of this contemporary Chinese American artist who blended painting and photography to offer new frameworks for understanding portraiture in relation to time, memory, and history. Often working from photographs, Hung Liu (1948-2021) used portraiture to elevate overlooked subjects, amplifying the stories of those who had historically been invisible or unheard. This richly illustrated book examines six decades of Liu’s painting, photography, and drawing. Author Dorothy Moss illuminates the importance of family photographs in Liu’s work; Nancy Lim examines the origins of Liu’s artistic practice; Lucy R. Lippard explores issues of identity and multiculturalism; and Elizabeth Partridge focuses on Liu’s recent series based on Dorothea Lange’s Depression-era photographs. Philip Tinari, along with artists Amy Sherald and Carrie Mae Weems, among others, conveys Liu’s impact on contemporary art. Having lived through war, political revolution, exile, and displacement, Liu painted a complex picture of an Asian Pacific American experience. Her portraits speak powerfully to those seeking a better life, in the United States and elsewhere.

Tour: Hung Liu: Portraits of Promised Lands

Take an online tour of selected works from the exhibition, narrated by curator, Dorothy Moss.

For more information, visit National Portrait Gallery