Chinese artist Hung Liu underwent “re-education” in China, during Mao’s Cultural Revolution. She toiled in the fields 364 days a year for four years, before graduating from the prestigious Central Academy of Art, with cohorts the likes of Ai Wei Wei. Liu immigrated to the U.S. and has since become one of the most collectible contemporary artists of this country. Her works are in the permanent collections of every major museum from the Metropolitan Museum of Art to the Los Angeles County Museum.
Liu is widely known for transforming the pain and struggle of Chinese workers into quasi-imperial objects of beauty. She makes a landmark step forward in her career with this “American Dream” Series. For the first time, Liu turns her attention toward the purely American struggle of forced migration. Finding inspiration in Dorothea Lange’s iconic photography, Liu transforms Lange’s imagery into full color, monumental beauty. Liu says “we can adopt each other’s children, so why not adopt each other’s ancestors, as well.” This body of work is pivotal not only because Hung adopts American imagery, but also because she allows her Social Realist Muralist training to show through in the bold, colorful underpainting in each work.