Born in Hong Kong, educated in Vancouver and Paris, and later based in New York City, Tseng Kwong Chi (1950–1990) produced a large body of witty, playful, performance-based photography that both captured the pivotal downtown Manhattan art and club scenes of the 1980s and reflected the increasingly globalized movement of people across nations and continents. Tseng called himself an “inquisitive traveler, a witness of my time and an ambiguous ambassador.” His works alternately function as witness to his life and community and as wry social commentary, raising critical questions about identity and culture.
Tseng Kwong Chi: Performing for the Camera, on view at Northwestern University Block Museum of Art from September 17 to December 11, 2016, is the first major solo museum exhibition of the photographer’s works, which have long sparked the imaginations of younger artists. The exhibition features over 80 photographs including well-known works— such as Tseng’s collaborations with Keith Haring and his East Meets West and Expeditionary series—as well as examples from the artist’s archive that have rarely been shown. An opening celebration will be held on Saturday, October 1st, 2016 at 2PM.