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Hung Liu: Living Memory

Hung Liu, Golden Autumn, 2019
Hung Liu, Golden Autumn, 2019. Archival pigment print with gold leaf on paper, artist's proof 2/2, 25 3/4 × 26 inches (65.41 × 66.04 cm). Collection of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University. Gift of Turner Carroll Gallery and Hung Liu Studio, 2022.28.10. © Hung Liu Estate/Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Chinese-born American artist Hung Liu (Born in Changchun, China, 1948 – 2021) portrayed individuals who risked being forgotten in death as in life. As a child, Liu lived under the regime of Mao Zedong, who led the Communist Party during the Cultural Revolution (1966 – 1976), a turbulent period of political and social upheaval in the People’s Republic of China. It was during this time that Liu realized photography’s significance when she witnessed her mother burn cherished family photographs, or otherwise risk persecution for being “bourgeois,” or not working class.

As an adult, Liu immigrated to the United States, where she focused on the photographs of the Chinese people who came before her. By manipulating and recontextualizing found images by dripping, splattering, and layering materials, Liu blurred the lines between representation and abstraction and probed photography’s role in shaping collective memory.

Hung Liu: Living Memory explores the artist’s ability to bridge past and present by manipulating the threads of visual memory. Her sensitive portraits illuminate what it means to be Chinese, to be American, and to be a woman. These testimonials make visible the faces of the forgotten. Liu’s portraits remind us that memory is not merely a repository of the past; it is a dynamic force that inflects the past, informs the present, and shapes our future, forging our sense of self while connecting us to the greater human consciousness.

Incubator Exhibition Proposals

Proposals for exhibitions in the Incubator Gallery will be accepted and evaluated on a rolling basis, but keep in mind that organizing an exhibition may take one year or longer and scheduling is dependent on the availability of the gallery.

Please contact Julia K. McHugh, Ph.D., Trent A. Carmichael Curator of Academic Initiatives, at as soon as you have a potential idea for an exhibition.

View all Past Exhibitions in the Incubator Gallery

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