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Hung Liu and Rene Yung, The Vanishing: Re-presenting the Chinese in the American West

May 20 - Sept. 30, 2006

hung liu painting china mary photograph hung liu painting

Paying homage to a population and history that has all but disappeared, The Vanishing: Re-presenting the Chinese in the American West is comprised of vintage photographs and contemporary works by Hung Liu and Rene Yung. The result is a powerful exploration of cultural memory and loss that underscores the conceptual basis of the exhibition.

Painter Hung Liu uses vintage photographs as inspiration and reference for her paintings. For this exhibition, photographs of the Chinese in late 1880s Idaho offered a rich source for creating new images that straddle Eastern culture and Western history. Organized by the Sun Valley Art Center in 2005, the University of Wyoming Art Museum's exhibition has been expanded and deepened by Liu. In her exploration of this subject, she has created three new paintings based on the Chinese in Wyoming who settled in Evanston and Rock Springs. The reference images from the American Heritage Center that served as reference and inspiration for the new work are included in the exhibition along with the existing series of vintage prints from Idaho.

Many Chinese workers came through Idaho and into Wyoming as workers on the first trans-continental railroad, the Union Pacific. Some settled here as a result and become successful business owners and community members. Rene Yung's installation work, nges and disappearance (2004), pays homage to the many Chinese who became laundryman and service workers in the developing West. Using soap as a primary material, her installation is comprised of bars of soap, each stamped with the word "remember," as a poignant expression to recall the history and contributions of these early settlers.

Gallery Talk: Hung Liu, Fri., Sept. 15, 10 - 11:30 am

Open Forum: Hung Liu, Fri., Sept. 15., 1: 30 - 4:30 pm

Art Talk: Hung Liu, Sat., Sept. 16, 11 am

  • Sponsored by BP North America, and funded in part by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Ruth Ellbogen, FMC Corporation, Kennecott Corporation, the UW President's Advisory Council on Minority and Women's Affairs (PACMWA), the National Advisory Board of the UW Art Museum, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Wyoming Arts Council through the National Endowment for the Arts and the Wyoming State Legislature, the Albany County Tourism Board, and Wyoming Public Radio.


Left: Hung Liu, China Mary, 66" x 66", oil on canvas, photo by Benjamin Blackwell

Center: China Mary, Ca. 1930, Kodak RC print, 5 x 3-1/2 inches, Uinta County Library Collection #6629, courtesy of the American Heritage Center

Right: Hung Liu, China Mary II, 36" x 24", oil on canvas, 2006, photo by Benjamin Blackwell

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Phone: (307) 766-6622


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