Urgent Museum Notice

Hung Liu In Print

A young woman with dark hair in two braids carries a male toddler on her back. This lithograph print uses reds, black and grays, and tan colors.
Jan 19 to Jul 18, 2018

Hung Liu In Print invites viewers to explore the relationship between the artist’s multi-layered paintings and the palpable, physical qualities of her works on paper. To make her prints, Liu (b. 1948) uses an array of printing and collage techniques, developing highly textured surfaces, veils of color, and screens of drip marks that transform the figures in each composition. Describing printmaking as “poetry,” she emphasizes the spontaneity of the layering process, which allows each image to build organically with each successive layer.

Before immigrating to California in 1984, Liu grew up during Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution in China, where she worked alongside fieldworkers and trained as a painter. Adapting figures from historical Chinese photographs, Liu reimagines antique depictions of laborers, refugees, and prostitutes. Her multifaceted oeuvre probes the human condition and confronts issues of culture, identity, and personal and national history.

Best known as a painter, Liu ably translates the “weeping realism” that characterizes her canvases into the medium of prints. This focus exhibition highlights selected prints from the collection of the National Museum of Women in the Arts as well as the artist’s related tapestry designs.

A woman from early 20th century China lounging on her side resting her head on her hand and staring out at the viewer. She appears to be floating against a pale pink background and darker pink foreground with a white swan swimming in front of her.

Hung Liu, Untitled (from "Seven Poses" series), 2005; Digital print on paper, 14 x 14 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Gift of the Greater Kansas City Area Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts; © Hung Liu

Exhibition Sponsors

Hung Liu In Print, presented in the Teresa Lozano Long Gallery of the National Museum of Women in the Arts, is organized by the museum and generously supported by its members.

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Although Hung Liu (b. 1948, Changchun, China) works in a variety of mediums, her portraits are unified by a unique style characterized by richly colored veils of drip marks—an effect...
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