Asia Society Presents Watercolors by a Pioneering Beijing-Based Artist

YUE MINJUN: I Love Laughing

June 19, 2007 through January 6, 2008

The Asia Society is pleased to present a small-scale exhibition of watercolors by renowned, Beijing-based artist Yue Minjun, on display through January 2, 2008. While widely recognized for his bold works on canvas and sculpture, Yue Minjun reveals a softer side of his oeuvre through this collection of works on paper.

Yue Minjun is a leading artist who emerged in the wake of the Tiananmen Square incident during the post-1989 era as a pioneer of Chinese contemporary art and founding member of the "Cynical Realism" movement. Most recognized for his signature self-portraits with unusually exuberant, toothsome, yet eerie smiles, Yue Minjun's iconic style has gained international recognition and acclaim.

Yue Minjun's grinning faces have become cultural icons that convey some of the paradoxes and complexities of modern-day China. Although Yue Minjun has expressed that "all problems can be solved with laughter," his works suggest a deeper interpretation of cultural growing pains. Art theorist Li Xianting described Yue Minjun's images as "a self-ironic response to the spiritual vacuum and folly of modern-day China." Yue Minjun alongside other avant-garde artists, such as Zhang Huan, Zhang Xiaogang, Fang Lijun, and Wang Guangyi, have not only established their artistic voices but have utilized art as a way to critique and comment on the social, psychological, economic, political, and environmental changes that are taking place in China.

This exhibition will coincide with Yue Minjun's first solo exhibition in the United States of paintings and bronzes at the Queens Museum. Yue Minjun and the Symbolic Smile opens on October 14, 2007. For more information, please visit

About the Artist
Yue Minjun was born in 1962 in Daqing, Heilongjiang Province. He first worked as an electrician for the Ocean Oil Company in Tianjin but later trained as a painter. After graduating from Hebei Normal University, he found a job teaching drawing for North China Petroleum but decided instead to move to Yuanmingyuan, a small village near the old Summer Palace. Yuanmingyuan became an artists' colony that sparked the beginning of many Chinese artists' international careers. Yue Minjun has shown at numerous international exhibitions, including "Mahjong," Kunstmuseum Bern, 2005; the Shanghai Biennale 2004; the Guangju Biennale 2004; the CP Open Biennale 2003; Indonesia National Gallery, Jakarta; and the 1999 Venice Biennale, among others.

About the Asia Society
Asia Society is the leading global organization working to strengthen relationships and promote understanding among the people, leaders, and institutions of Asia and the United States. We seek to enhance dialogue, encourage creative expression, and generate new ideas across the fields of policy, business, education, arts, and culture. Founded in 1956 by John D. Rockefeller 3rd, Asia Society is a nonprofit educational institution with offices in Hong Kong, Houston, Los Angeles, Manila, Melbourne, Mumbai, New York, San Francisco, Shanghai, and Washington, D.C.

One of the first American museums to establish a contemporary Asian art program in the early 1990s, the Asia Society Museum presents groundbreaking exhibitions and artworks previously unseen in the United States. Through these exhibitions and related public programs, the Society provides a forum for the issues and viewpoints reflected in the work of cutting-edge Asian and Asian American artists. Their views do not necessarily reflect those of Asia Society, which is a nonpartisan institution.

Also on Display at the Asia Society

June 19 through August 5
Condensation: Five Video Works by Chen Chieh-Jen is the first major solo exhibition of leading Taiwanese artist Chen Chieh-Jen in the United States. Born in 1960 and based in Taipei, Chen has gained both local and international acclaim for his important works in photography, installation, performance, and video art - his medium of choice since 2002.

This retrospective brings together, for the first time in New York, all of Chen's video works, which include: Lingchi - Echoes of a Historical Photograph, 2002; Factory, 2003; Bade Area, 2005; On Going, 2006; and The Route, 2006.

Chen Chieh-Jen's works examine the social, political, and historical conflicts of marginalized people and communities in Taiwan and beyond.

Asia Society and Museum
725 Park Avenue (at 70th Street), New York City. The Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Closed Monday. General admission is $10, seniors $7, students $5 and free for members and persons under 16. Free admission Fridays, 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.
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Contact: Jennifer Suh at (212) 327-9271