Goings On About Town - Liu Xiaodong in The New Yorker
24 June 2020
When the virtuoso Chinese realist Liu Xiaodong began making watercolors of locked-down New York, he had already hit Pause himself. The fifty-six-year-old artist had just finished a beautiful series of plein-air group portraits, painted on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border, and was hanging out in Manhattan until the opening of a related museum exhibition at the Dallas Contemporary. When Liu and his family became stranded—the show was postponed and several flights home to Beijing were cancelled—he took up a new daily practice, documenting the eerily empty city: April brought blossoming trees in a closed playground; in early May, he captured a socially distanced game of chess at Astor Place. In late May, the energy shifted as Black Lives Matter protesters took to the streets (as seen in “At My Doorstop,” above). On June 29, the Lisson Gallery launches an online exhibition (at lissongallery.com) of Liu’s new watercolors. It’s hard to imagine a better eyewitness to New York’s historic spring than this artist, who has been shedding light on social struggles for years, picturing everyday people, from Uyghur jade miners in northwest China to Syrian refugees in Turkey and Greece, with candor, affection, and respect.
By Andrea K. Scott for The New Yorker
Liu Xiaodong's Spring in New York will be presented on Lisson Gallery's Online Exhibition platform from 29 June – 12 July, 2020
Image: Liu Xiaodong, At my Doorstep (2020) Watercolour on paper
26 x 36 cm, 10 1/8 x 14 1/8 in