Nov 27 2020

Hung Liu Appointed Artist Trustee At San Francisco Museum Of Modern Art

by Ariana Heffner

A portrait of HUNG LIU. Image via Instagram.

On November 20, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) announced the appointment of Chinese-American painter Hung Liu as the Board of Trustee’s artist trustee. Liu joins four other new trustees for a three-year term, effective immediately.

Known for her vibrant figurative paintings, which incorporate imageries from historical photographs of Chinese women taken by foreign tourists, Liu’s works challenge the depiction and perception of the self. In Strings (2015), for example, motifs such as flowers and birds surround a woman’s face, thus foregrounding stereotypical depictions of East Asia during the 19th and 20th century. Hung also utilizes linseed oil to create a dripping effect on the canvas, symbolizing the passage of time.

Changchun-born Liu obtained a bachelor of fine arts from Beijing Teachers College in 1975, and a postgraduate degree in mural painting at Beijing’s Central Academy of Fine Art in 1981. She moved to the United States in 1984, and obtained a master of fine arts at the University of California, San Diego, in 1986. She has exhibited internationally, including at Hong Kong’s 10 Chancery Lane Gallery in 2009, 2011, and 2013; the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History in 2017; and the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C., in 2018. She received the Lifetime Achievement in Printmaking Award from Southern Graphics Council International in 2011, and won the inaugural Artist Award from San Jose Museum and Berkeley Art Center, respectively, in 2018.

SFMOMA has included artist trustees on its board since 2006 to counsel the institution and represent the art community. Liu will be working with current artist trustees Julie Mehretu and Rosana Castrillo Diaz. The other four new trustees includes philanthropist Ivette Caldera Esserman, and businessmen Deryck Maughan, Ty Ahmad-Taylor, and Tyson Clark.

Established in 1935, SFMOMA is a key modern and contemporary art institution in the US. The museum received backlash in June for its initially vague reaction to the Black Lives Matter protests on Instagram and for its appropriation of African-American artist Glenn Ligon’s screenprint-on-canvas We’re Black and Strong (1) (1996) in its post. Followers noted that the institution had deleted and disabled comments due to the outpouring of criticism. In response, the museum introduced the “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Plan” in July with measurable goals to hold the institution accountable in dealing with discrimination and harassment. The plan will come into effect in December.

Ariana Heffner is an editorial intern of ArtAsiaPacific.

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