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At LACMA, Chinese Artworks Zero in on a Single Material

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At LACMA, Chinese artworks zero in on a single material. Think ash. Or human hair

MIRACLE MILE (LA Times) — The piece “united nations: american code” (2018-19) by gu wenda is made of human hair. In the West, contemporary Chinese art often gets placed in a political framework, highlighting those struggling against censorship to provide a critique of Communist suppression. “The Allure of Matter: Material Art From China” at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art steps away from that paradigm and shows works by 21 artists over four decades that are personal in very different ways.

The thesis is that each artwork focuses on one material as a means of expression. The range is wide: the natural and the made — objects such as metal nails, cigarettes and roof tiles.

“I started working with some of these artists starting from the ‘90s, when I returned to China to do field work,” says Wu Hung, lead curator of the show, as he pauses in the first gallery of the show in LACMA’s BCAM building. Wu left China in 1980 for graduate studies at Harvard University, and today he’s professor of art history at the University of […]

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