What is the role of art in society? Do artists have social responsibility? What does it mean to be a global artist? On November 24, Liu Xiaodong, a super star in contemporary Chinese art, will answer these questions and more. In conversation with art journalist Barbara Pollack, Liu will share four projects—depicting his hometown in northern China and the effects of urbanization; kids in a Greenland village in a time of climate change; laborers on the Texas border and immigration; and life in New York during COVID lockdown. Liu’s deeply human work documents the everyday lives of the characters he meets, and through them he explores the impact of rapid social change.
Liu Xiaodong is best known for his involvement in the Neo-Realist movement in China during the 1990s. Throughout his painting practice, Liu explores the conceptual aspect of documenting the developing economy of China. “I like to find scenes that are part of life, of someone’s everyday existence and I choose places that interest me,” he has said. “When I paint someone, I want to capture their environment, their living state. I want to show the personal story behind the image of the person.” Liu lives and works in Beijing. His work is in the collections of the Shanghai Museum of Art, the Singapore Museum of Art, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Barbara Pollack is the co-founder and co-director of Art at a Time Like This Inc.,a platform for free expression for artists at times of crises. An author and curator, Pollack is a leading authority on Chinese contemporary art. Her latest book, Brand New Art from China: A Generation on the Rise, was published in 2018. Pollack has written extensively on contemporary Chinese art for such publications as Artnews, Art & Auction, the Village Voice, Vanity Fair, the New York Times, and many others. Pollack is an adjunct professor at the School of Visual Arts in New York City and frequently lectures on contemporary art at universities and museums throughout the United States and Asia. In 2022, Pollack will be lead curator of the exhibition, Mirror Image: Changing Chinese Identity, at the Asia Society Museum in New York.