In the 1980s and 1990s, many Chinese artists experimented with a wide range of unconventional materials to make art. These experiments – with plastic, paper, silk, ash, and even tobacco – constitute a major trend that distinguishes contemporary art from other art traditions and practices in China. Curated by renowned art historian Wu Hung and Orianna Cacchione, Smart Museum Curator of Global Contemporary Art, the exhibition presents objects and spectacular large-scale installations from these artists, who are among the most important artists working today. This exhibition is co-organized by Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Smart Museum of Art with Wrightwood 659, the Seattle Art Museum, and the Peabody Essex Museum.
The Allure of Matter: Material Art from China is co-organized by the Peabody Essex Museum, the Smart Museum of Art with Wrightwood 659, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Seattle Art Museum. The national tour of this exhibition is supported by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. At the Peabody Essex Museum, this exhibition has been made possible by the Nancy B. Tieken Memorial Fund and supporters of the Present Tense Initiative, including The Jeffrey P. Beale Fund for Contemporary Art and Susan and Appy Chandler. Carolyn and Peter S. Lynch and The Lynch Foundation, Jennifer and Andrew Borggaard, James B. and Mary Lou Hawkes, Kate and Ford O'Neil and Henry and Callie Brauer provided generous support. We also recognize the generosity of the East India Marine Associates of the Peabody Essex Museum.