Museum Hours
Thu: 1 PM–8 PM
Fri–Mon: 10 AM–5 PM
Tue–Wed: Closed
200 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
Contemporary Art

28 Chinese

Jun 5, 2015 – Aug 16, 2015

28 Chinese explodes narrow perspectives on contemporary art in China.

The result of more than a decade’s worth of exploration, research and collecting, this new exhibition—organized by the extraordinary Rubell Collection in Miami—presents 48 artworks from 28 contemporary Chinese artists.

The impressive roster includes early innovators and internationally acclaimed stars—Ai Weiwei, Zhang Huan and Huang Yong Ping, among them—as well as a new generation of game changers—like Liu Wei and Xu Zhen. Works will be shown throughout the museum to further highlight the individual approaches of these unique artists. North Court will be transformed by Zhu Jinshi’s colossal Boat. You’re invited to walk through this stunning, 40-foot installation and examine its delicate construction—row upon row of stacked paper overlapping bamboo rods suspended from the ceiling with cotton thread. Other works will appear in the museum’s Chinese collection galleries on the second and third floors, linking them to their cultural and thematic lineage.

Featuring painting, installation, photography and new media (including a robust selection of video), 28 Chinese brings together a multiplicity of practices and perspectives. While the exhibition offers only a sample of the dynamic contemporary art scene in China, it represents some of the most notable Chinese artists working today.

Top image: Liberation No. 1 (detail), 2013, by Liu Wei (Chinese, b. 1972). Oil on canvas. Courtesy of Rubell Family Collection, Miami. © Liu Wei.


该次参展的艺术家包括了中国当代艺术早期的革新者和享有国际声望的艺术家,如艾未未、张洹、黄永砯,也有新一代“游戏规则”的改造者如刘韡和徐震。这些艺术家的作品将在旧金山亚洲艺术博物馆多个展馆展出,以尽力呈现每位艺术家的独特风格和艺术特色。一楼北侧大厅展陈朱金石的大型宣纸装置艺术《船》。作为参观者,您可亲身体验、穿越这件长40英尺、从天花顶高悬而下的艺术杰作。这只“船” 由数千张连接着上百个竹条与棉线的宣纸组成。展览的其他作品在亚洲艺术博物馆二、三层的中国厅展出,从而将作品与它们的文化传承巧妙衔接。


Meet the Rubells

Don and Mera Rubell met in 1962, when Don was a medical student and Mera was a teacher with New York’s first Head Start program. After marrying in 1964, they began collecting art on a budget of $25 a month. Between then and now they have helped launch the careers of artists including Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring (who also became a close family friend) and have put together one of the largest and most impressive private collections of contemporary art in the world. The Rubell Family Collection is exhibited in Miami, Florida, in a 45,000-square-foot repurposed DEA confiscated goods facility. It features artists from around the globe, including Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, Cindy Sherman, Zhang Huan and Ai Weiwei.

Establishing a personal connection with artists has always been important to the Rubells, whose collecting habits are fueled by a genuine love for contemporary art. For that reason, studio visits are a fundamental step in the process.

“It’s completely inside of our practice as collectors,” says Mera Rubell. “There is something essential in the experience that we get visiting the studio.”

28 Chinese is the culmination of more than a decade’s worth of research, exploration and collecting. Between 2001 and 2012, the Rubells visited 100 artists’ studios in Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Xi’an, ultimately purchasing works from 28 different artists.

“The nuances of China wouldn’t have become apparent through visits to contemporary Chinese exhibitions in Chelsea galleries,” said the Rubells’ son Jason Rubell. “It was vital to this project that we were able to touch, smell, hear, feel and taste something about China itself.”

28 Chinese offers a glimpse into the studio practices the Rubells most connected with. Though these artworks are only a sample of all that contemporary Chinese art has to offer, they represent some of the most notable Chinese artists working today. The exhibition will serve as a springboard for new audiences into the dynamic landscape of contemporary art in China.

Installing Boat

Upon entering the Asian Art Museum between June 5 and August 15, you’ll find North Court transformed by Zhu Jinshi’s Boat — a colossal 40-foot sculpture suspended from the ceiling. You can walk through the sculpture’s center and examine its delicate construction, row upon row of bamboo rods suspended from cotton threads and draped with crumpled Xuan paper. The artist calls this experience a “symbolic journey,” one that may block out the noise of the world. He describes the work as an attempt “to infinitely extend every moment,” using the movement of the boat — its ability to drift in any direction in the water — as an analogy for the extension of time and experience.

On loan from the Rubell Family Collection in Miami, Boat came to us in pieces, including 19 25-quart bins full of precrumpled Xuan paper — a specialized paper used primarily for traditional Chinese landscape ink paintings.

“The artwork consists of several thousands of sheets,” says Patrick Gillespie, head of preparation. “Our prep team spent a great deal of time just unfolding all the pieces.”

Boat, 2012, by Zhu Jinshi (Chinese, b. 1954). Xuan paper, bamboo, and cotton thread. Courtesy of Rubell Family Collection, Miami. © Zhu Jinshi, © ARS, New York.
Organizers & Sponsors

28 Chinese is organized by the Rubell Family Collection, Miami. Presentation at the Asian Art Museum is made possible with the generous support of China Art Foundation, Gorretti and Lawrence Lui, Silicon Valley Bank, The Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang Fund for Excellence in Exhibitions and Presentations, William Mathews Brooks, Lucy Sun and Warren Felson, and an anonymous donor. Media sponsor: The California Sunday Magazine.