Artists Zhang Hongtu and Casey Tang gave a walkthrough of two exhibitions on view at the Queens Museum – Zhang Hongtu and Catalyst: New Projects by Meredith James, Kameelah Janan Rasheed, and Casey Tang. The conversation was moderated by Hitomi Iwasaki, Curator at the Queens Museum.
Hongtu is an artist who has lived and worked in the United States since 1982. He was born into a Muslim family in Gansu, China in 1943 and graduated from the Central Academy of Arts and Crafts in Beijing in 1969. From the middle of the 1980s to the 1990s, Zhang created paintings, sculptures and mixed media installations utilizing Mao’s image to express his ideas about Communist China and the Cultural Revolution. In the last decade, Zhang’s works have come to question complex relationships between the traditions of old China and the customs of the modern West. His most recent works focus on the relationship between nature and the human condition. While Zhang’s work has been exhibited extensively in the U.S and internationally, the Queens Museum exhibition Zhang Hongtu is the artist’s first U.S. survey and chronicles his art practice from the late 1950s to the present day.
One of the three recipients of the Queens Museum/Jerome Foundation Fellowship for Emerging Artists, Casey Tang puts actions, experiences, objects and installations into works that create liminal areas that re-contextualize and compare systems, information, histories, and paradigms. While tapping into diverse disciplines including ecology, musicology, and narratology, Tang has recently become interested in abstractions of form and narrative as a means of creating disassociation from cultural norms and incorporating non-western worldviews—such as humor and contradictions found in Zen Koans and ritual clowns—and cultural outputs to create and critique new, hybrid worldviews. Casey Tang has a BFA from SUNY Purchase (2006) and has exhibited in the US, Europe, and China. Tang is also a collaborator on Swale, a mobile floating food forest that docks at piers along New York City’s harbor.