When 7 Mar 2020 - 30 Apr 2020
213 E 121st Street
New York, NY 10035
United States

[WhiteBox is temporarily closed. Please contact the organizer for up-to-date information.]

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 Participating Artists

Ai Weiwei ・ Bing Lee ・ David Diao ・ Jon Tsoi ・ Kwok MangHo ・ Ma Kelu ・Ming Fay ・ Szeto Keung ・ TehChing Hsieh ・ Tseng Kwong Chi ・ Wucius WongXu Bing・ Zhang Hongtu・ Yan Li

EXODUS is a long view programmatic exhibition and workshop series begun in 2018 at WhiteBox Art Center. It deals with and delineates vital creative realities existing within localized New York City environs construed by the effort and efficacy of various generations of émigré artists and cultural members arriving in and making New York City their home turfs.It is inherent in the evolution and realization of the project and exhibition of EXODUS II-UNHINGING THE GREAT WALL / CHINESE ART REVEALED, EAST VILLAGE, NY 1980s, that the inhabitants, students and myriad generations of the New York and extended communities become informed as to the historic and aesthetic role played by the artists who moved from China to settle in this city in the 1980s to early 1990s.

This is a most relevant project with wide-ranging elements, in view of the expansion in exhibitions, collections, research, publications and discourse on Asian Art in the United States, and in New York specifically over the last forty years. Despite such broadened activity, misperceptions and ignorance still exist, as well as current heightened fractions in fusion of societies and heritage.


This exhibition will be the second chapter of EXODUS, and it will focus on the first wave of emerging Chinese immigrant artists to NYC in the 1980s. The exhibition and its broad public programming explores the artistic-cultural impact these artists who live or have lived and worked in NYC-drawing from their experiences in New York-provided, contributed to changing our cultural landscape. Over time they altered the course of artistic output in China, representing the face of Chinese contemporary art today, in addition to their collaborations and participations in the New York art scene.

“Unhinging the Great Wall: Chinese Art Revealed,” will focus on the first wave of Chinese immigrants to NYC in the 1980s, with many artists settling in the East Village. Many of these artists have come to represent the face of Chinese contemporary art – Xu Bing, Ai Weiwei, Bing Lee, Wucius Wong, Zhang Hongtu, David Diao, Ming Fay, Yan Li – and influence creative expression in China and other countries, weaving together newfound influences from the Western art canon with traditional Chinese art and culture

Lacking a period of ‘Modernism’, artists began a search for a new artistic language and dialogue, pursuing multiple lines of enquiry. Working from scratch, artists instigated a parallel and alternative contemporary art history to the West that brought Chinese art from the ongoing socialist realism of the times, to mature experimental and conceptual practice in just a few years. Numerous non-profits and artist groups, and collectives formed in New York, including the Asian American Arts Centre, Basement Workshop, Godzilla, and Museum of the Chinese in America. Such initiatives presented a rare burgeoning view on the changing world of contemporary Chinese art. In the decades which followed, the realm of exhibitions and projects has greatly expanded, nevertheless much of this period of intense artistic output needs deeper examination.

Consistent with ongoing programs of outreach and research, the exhibition proffers a diverse perspective on 20th/21st Century Chinese culture. The featured works drawn from numerous non-profit institutions, cultural centers and collections document and affirm the power of art to set the stage for thoughtful encounters that stimulate social awareness, cultivate community, and broaden perspectives on the art and culture of our time.

Image courtesy of the event organizer.

For more information please click here.