Wu Hung, Professor of Art History and Consulting Curator of the Smart Museum of Art, is featured in in the latest issue of Newcity Chicago. The publication’s art section examines his work on the Smart Museum’s exhibit Displacement: The Three Gorges Dam and Contemporary Chinese Art, saying it offers “nuanced, thought-provoking perspectives on a project of great social, environmental, and global concern”
The Three Gorges Dam on China’s Yangzi River will, when completed, supply the nation with the equivalent power of fifty million tons of coal. It has also already displaced over one million people and submerged over one thousand towns and villages. Displacement presents work that four leading contemporary Chinese artists—Chen Qiulin, Yun-Fei Ji, Liu Xiaodong, and Zhuang Hui—have created in response to the dam.
It’s a complicated issue that Professor Wu Hung approaches with care. Newcity Chicago explains that he “has fashioned his curatorial career […] as a cultural diplomat.”
Thanks in part to Wu Hung, viewers are equipped to understand contemporary Chinese art in the context that it is made, so an exhibition such as Displacement, which focuses on a very specific time and place, has relevance for a Chicago audience. In many ways the world is already attuned to China’s pull on life, from the Olympic spectacle to the objects we touch and digest daily. “Actually,” says Wu Hung, “we know so little about each other.”
Newcity Chicago goes on to mention that Wu Hung will soon publish a source book with the Museum of Modern Art on Chinese art and literature, and he will also work with artist Shen Shaomin to install public sculptures in Millennium Park.
For more information on Displacement: The Three Gorges Dam and Contemporary Chinese Art, visit the Smart Museum’s website.