Beijing-Based Zhang Gong Returns to New York with a Pop-Culture-Infused New Show
Using cartoon characters of his own and others’ invention, Zhang Gong (張弓) explores East-West relations, art history, popular culture, and the human condition in his acrylic-on-canvas paintings and animated shorts. Since the early 1990s, he has been filling his compositions with a recurrent cast of oddly adorable characters, including his lonely, phallus-headed “Mr. Aomi” and adventurous, chubby “Mrs. Panda,” as well as figures from South Park, The Simpsons, Sesame Street, Disney films, and Wallace and Gromit. They serve as stand-ins for human beings and as symbols of the influence of Western popular culture on China, and on art history. Zhang expresses this cultural hegemony most forcefully in his series of New York and Beijing cityscapes, whose streets are crowded with these icons of American and English entertainment, and in his re-imagining of canonical paintings, overrun with cartoon characters.
Chinese, b. 1959, Beijing, China, based in Beijing, China