Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Tseng Kwong Chi Photography Exhibit April 21-July 11, 2015

Upon attending the press preview for the Metropolitan Museum of Art's exhibit, China Through the Looking Glass, I had the pleasure of meeting Muna Tseng, the sister of Tseng Kwong Chi.
This is the uniform Tseng Kwong Chi wears in many of his photographs, such as the one beside it.  
Here is Muna, with her brother's part of this wonderful exhibit at the MET Museum! She was the kindest lady, and when she sent me information about her brother's exhibit I wanted to let you know when it was running and where. 

Below is some history about the very talented photographer, Tseng Kwong Chi: 

Tseng Kwong Chi
Combining photography with performance, personal identity with global politics, and satire with farce, Tseng Kwong Chi (1950–1990) created a compelling body of work whose complexity is belied by its humor and grace. Born in Hong Kong, raised in Vancouver, and educated in Paris, Tseng moved to New York in 1978, where he quickly became a key documentarian of Manhattan's vibrant downtown scene. He also began crafting the performative self-portraits—"selfies" avant la lettre—that form the backbone of his artistic practice, exploring the questions of personal and political identity that preoccupied many artists of his generation. Remarkably, Tseng made virtually all the works on view here in the course of just ten years, before his untimely death from AIDS–related complications at the age of 39.

In his self-portraits, Tseng adopts the identity of a Chinese government official, wearing a deadpan expression and a Zhongshan suit, often called a "Mao suit" after Communist leader Mao Zedong. Assuming the role of a dignitary crisscrossing the globe, the artist poses before popular tourist sites, such as the Brooklyn Bridge or Eiffel Tower, or in magnificent natural settings such as the Canadian Rockies and the Grand Canyon. Sometimes working on assignment for publications in the U.S. or abroad, Tseng captured the New York art world as well as the nation's political temperature. He was an enthusiastic and reliable witness to his time, documenting not only the work of his friend Keith Haring—from Haring's subversive and transient subway drawings to his public murals—but also the electric downtown nightlife of New York in the 1980s.

The exhibition's subtitle, Performing for the Camera, points to the masquerade and theatricality at the root of Tseng's conceptual photography. Performance allowed Tseng to maneuver like a chameleon, insinuating himself with equal poise into nightclubs, art openings, beach parties, and posh society galas. Yet in nearly every photograph of these encounters, Tseng's unchanging costume and Asian identity mark him as an outsider. Exemplifying the complexity of "East meets West," Tseng's work illuminates the eclectic practices of this fascinating period, when artists mixed personal politics, public display, and social disruption to break down barriers between various media and reinvent performance art.

Tseng Kwong Chi: Performing for the Camera was curated by Amy Brandt, McKinnon Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, Virginia, and co-organized by the Chrysler Museum and the Grey Art Gallery, New York University. This exhibition is supported, in part, by the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. The Chrysler Museum thanks Oriana McKinnon and the McKinnon Family. The Grey Art Gallery gratefully acknowledges the Shiseido Endowment; New York University's Visual Arts Initiative; the Grey's Director's Circle, Inter/National Council, and Friends; Jane Wesman Public Relations; and the Abby Weed Grey Trust. In-kind support is provided by Peter Mustardo of The Better Image and Katherine Sanderson, photograph conservator.

ADDRESS: Grey Art Gallery, New York University, 100 Washington Square East, NYC 10003

Tuesdays/Thursdays/Fridays: 11:00 am – 6:00 pm
OPEN LATE Wednesdays: 11:00 am – 8:00 pm
Saturdays: 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Closed Sundays and Mondays. 

The Grey Art Gallery is closed between exhibitions. Please check our homepage for exhibition dates.

SUGGESTED ADMISSION: $3.00, Free to NYU students, faculty, and staff

DIRECTIONS: The Grey Art Gallery is located within the NYU Silver Center at 100 Washington Square East. Situated at the meeting point of SoHo and the East and West Villages, the Grey Art Gallery is easily reached by public transportation. SUBWAY: A, B, C, D, E, F, or M to West 4th Street; N or R local to 8th Street; 6 local to Astor Place; 1 local to Christopher Street. BUS: M1, M2, M3, M5, and M6 to 8th Street.

About the Grey Art Gallery The Grey Art Gallery is New York University’s fine arts museum, located on historic Washington Square Park in New York City’s Greenwich Village. It offers the NYU community and the general public a dynamic roster of engaging and thought-provoking exhibitions, all of them enriched by public programs. With its emphasis on experimentation and interpretation, and its focus on exploring art in its historical, cultural, and social contexts, the Grey serves as a museum-laboratory for the exploration of art’s environments. Exhibitions organized by the Grey have encompassed all the visual arts: painting, sculpture, drawing and printmaking, photography, architecture and decorative arts, film, video, and performance. In addition to producing its own exhibitions, which often travel to other venues in the United States and abroad, the gallery hosts traveling shows that might otherwise not be seen in New York and produces scholarly publications that are distributed worldwide.

Exhibition Tour After closing at the Grey Art Gallery on April 21, 2015, Performing for the Camera travels to the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, Virginia, where it will be on view from August 18 to December 13, 2015. From January 21 to May 22, 2016, the show will be on view at the Tufts University Art Gallery at the Shirley and Alex Aidekman Arts Center. The tour concludes at the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University, on view from September 17 to December 11, 2016.


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