Xu Bing: The Living World

When 19 Jul 2011 - 29 Sep 2011
Where Morgan Library and Museum
225 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10016
United States
Enquiry (212) 685-0008

July 18 – late September 2011

Opening Reception: July 18, 5:30-7:30pm

Press Release:

Chinese artist Xu Bing will create a new, larger version of his celebrated work The Living Word specifically for the Morgan’s soaring glass-enclosed Gilbert Court. The Living Word 3 will be on view from July 19 through late September. The project is the second in a series of annual summer installations of works by contemporary artists in the Renzo Piano-designed space.

Xu Bing has described The Living Word 3 as a “floating, iridescent cloud of calligraphy” that traces the Chinese character niao, meaning “bird,” from its present-day usage in simplified Chinese to its ancient pictographic expression. The Morgan installation will comprise approximately 400 carved and painted acrylic characters, rising from the Gilbert Court’s floor to its fifty-foot ceiling. It will be the largest of The Living Word series to date. A selection of the artist’s original sketches for the project will also be on view.

Though the Morgan is noted for its holdings of American and European art and literature, its founder, Pierpont Morgan, was also interested in Chinese art. He collected art and artifacts from the Middle East as well as Asia, and the Morgan this fall will hold an exhibition of some its greatest Islamic manuscripts.

During installation of The Living Word 3, scheduled to begin on July 11, visitors to the Morgan will be able to watch the work take form. Most of the 400 individual characters will be suspended from the Gilbert Court ceiling. This will be the first time a work from The Living Word series has been publicly displayed in a New York City museum.

Xu Bing received a MacArthur Fellowship in 1999. In 2002 he was awarded the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize and in 2004 received the first Wales International Visual Art Prize, Artes Mundi. Columbia University presented him with a Doctor of Humane Letters in 2010.

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