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This lecture is part of an A.D. White Professors-at-Large (ADW-PAL) visit and is co-sponsored by the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art and the Cornell Council for the Arts.

Xu Bing is an internationally acclaimed Chinese artist whose creative and cultural interventions touch on the fields of public and ecological art, printmaking, new media installations, drawing, and sculpture. His biography charts the path of the international influence of Chinese contemporary art and its complex place in Chinese culture over the last forty years.

For the 2022 Cornell Biennial, the Johnson Museum commissioned his newest “Background Story,” a lyrical light box in dialogue with an historical Chinese ink painting in the Museum’s collection. Through the manipulation of recycled plastic and miscellaneous trash from daily life, the artist dilutes or intensifies light to “draw” an ink-like image on glass that conveys traditional Chinese reverence for nature while serving as a warning about humans’ ongoing mistreatment of the environment.

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