Between Past and Future: New Photography and Video from China

Featured image

Qiu Zhijie, Tattoo 1, 2000. Chromogenic development print; 39 3/10 x 31 4/5 in. (99.8 x 80.2 cm). Collection Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago


This major traveling exhibition provides the first comprehensive, interpretive examination of contemporary photography from China produced since the mid-1990s. Ambitious in scale and experimental in nature, the photographic work included in this groundbreaking project offers a range of highly individual responses to the unprecedented changes in China’s economic, social, and cultural life in the past decade. Featuring 130 works by 60 Chinese artists, many of whom will be exhibiting for the first time in the US, Between Past and Future: New Photography and Video from China is divided into four thematic sections: History and Memory, People and Place, Performing the Self, and Reimagining the Body. The exhibition aims to foster a new understanding of contemporary Chinese photography and video and provide unusual insights into the dynamics of Chinese culture in the 21st century.

In Chicago, the exhibition is presented at two venues: the MCA (People and Places and Performing the Self), and the David and Alfred Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago (History and Memory and Reimagining the Body). The exhibition is cocurated by two distinguished scholars: Wu Hung, consulting curator at the Smart Museum and professor of Chinese art history at the University of Chicago, and Christopher Phillips, curator at the International Center of Photography, New York. The MCA’s presentation is coordinated by former Associate Curator Staci Boris.


This exhibition is coorganized by the International Center of Photography, New York, and the David and Alfred Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago, in collaboration with the Asia Society, New York, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Between Past and Future: New Photography and Video from China and related programs are generously supported in part by the Smart Family Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, the Henry Luce Foundation, W.L.S. Spencer Foundation, Jeffrey A. and Marjorie G. Rosen, Marilynn Alsdorf, American Center Foundation, the Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, Fred and Stephanie Shuman, the Blakemore Foundation, Samuel and Helen Zell, Salvatore Ferragamo Italia S.p.A., Richard and Mary L. Gray, Rosenkranz Charitable Foundation, Illinois Humanities Council, Virginia W. Kettering Fund of the Dayton Foundation, the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation, Inc., Dorie Sternberg, Sarina Tang, Mrs. Catherine G. Curran, JGS, Inc., and Jennifer McSweeney and Peter Reuss.

Air transportation is provided by American Airlines, the official airline of the Museum of Contemporary Art.
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