Wu Hung

Article Works Projects
history, memory, transformation
Visual Arts (curating art)
Asia, Eastern, America, North
China, United States of America
created on:
February 13, 2008
last changed on:
Please note: This page has not been updated since March 28, 2008. We decided to keep it online because we think the information is still valuable.
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Wu Hung


Statement of the artist for the «Postcard Project» of the House of World Cultures "To explain - to write about and demonstrate through exhibitions - what ´contemporary art´ is in a truly global, cosmopolitan spirit. To understand both the connectivity and individuality of artists around the world." Wu Hung, 2007 The curator and art historian Wu Hung grew up in Beijing, where he studied and qualified in art history at the Central Academy of Fine Arts. From 1973-78 he was on the research staff in the Palace Museum in the Forbidden City then moved to Harvard University, where he gained a doctorate in art history and anthropology in 1980. He began teaching there the same year. On becoming a professor in 1994, he left Harvard to teach at Chicago University, where he is now the Harrie A. Vanderstappen Distinguished Service Professor for the history of Chinese art. Wu Hung is mainly interested in early Chinese art up to the Cultural Revolution. He analyzes Chinese culture through the relationships between an era’s visual forms (like architecture, wall-paintings and pictographic incisions) on the one hand and its social memory, rituals and political discourses on the other. He is deemed a pioneer in the field of American sinology in systematically comparing texts and visual signs. Since the 80s he has also furthered contemporary Chinese art in the USA. In the mid-80s he curated a series of exhibitions at Adam’s House at Harvard University, to which he invited today internationally renowned representatives of contemporary Chinese art like Mu Xin, Chen Danqing, Luo Zhongji, Zhang Hongtu und Qiu Deshu, who had never been invited to the USA before. Wu Hung has published many books and written articles and exhibition-texts about contemporary Chinese art and visual culture, and in 2005 he curated the festival ‘About Beauty’ in the House of World Cultures in Berlin. During it, the former Congress Hall was turned into a unified work of art. His recent publications include: ‘Remaking Beijing: Tiananmen Square and the Creation of a Political Space’ (2005). This book describes the metamorphoses of the ‘Square of Heavenly Peace’ as a setting for political legitimization in the course of the last century up to the present.
Author: House of World Cultures


Publications (Selection)

Published Written
Remaking Beijing: Tiananmen Square and the Creation of a Political Space. University of Chicago Press: Chicago, 2005 Transience: Chinese Experimental Art at the End of the Twentieth Century. University Of Chicago Press: Chicago, 1999 Chinese Experimental Art at the End of the Twentieth Century. University of Chicago Press: Chicago, 1999 Three Thousand Years of Chinese Painting. Yale University Press: Yale, 1997 Monumentality in Early Chinese Art. Stanford: Stanford University Press: Stanford, 1995


This artist took part in the following project(s) organized/funded by the culturebase.net partner institutions.


Exhibition, Films, Literature, Dance, Conference

(13 March 08 - 18 May 08)

Postcard Project

(01 March 07 - 31 December 08)

About Beauty

Exhibition, Dance, Workshops, Conference

(18 March 05 - 15 May 05)