Chinese contemporary art is little represented in US museums, but a significant step was taken last year when the Museum of Modern Art in New York acquired 28 photographs by 11 contemporary Chinese artists. They included work by Ai Weiwei, Rong Rong and Huang Yan, and were bought from the US collector and publisher Larry Warsh.
Now Warsh, whose 700-strong holding also includes painting and sculpture, has sold nine works by two Chinese photographers to the Getty Museum in California. He values the group at $100,000 but gave the museum, he says, “a healthy discount”.
It is the Getty’s first big acquisition in this field. The works are by Wang Qingsong and Hai Bo, and include Hai Bo’s “I am Chairman Mao’s Red Guard” (2000, above), showing the same person now and when she was a young militant, and Wang Qingsong’s dolled-up “New Women” (2000). “The Getty has one of the largest collections of photography in the world, and it is important for it to add Chinese contemporary photography to its holdings,” says Warsh.
“It is the start of a new era for the museum, and with the large Asian-American community in California, the acquisition also enables [the museum] to connect with this audience.”
EVERYBODY IS GOING ASIAN!
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