Back for a limited engagement—reservations required
From gunpowder to crystal, and silk to cigarettes, contemporary artists working in China have experimented with various materials, transforming seemingly everyday objects into large-scale artworks. Make a reservation and experience these material transformations in a reformatted presentation of the exhibition ‘The Allure of Matter’ at the Smart Museum of Art this summer.
During this limited-time engagement, small groups of up to 6 people can reserve times to visit the exhibition. We will limit the number of people who can visit the exhibition at any one time, observing social distancing and other public health requirements.
Read our updated visit guidelines: https://smartmuseum.uchicago.edu/visit/
Since the 1980s, Chinese contemporary artists have cultivated intimate relationships with their materials, establishing a framework of interpretation revolving around materiality. Their media range from the commonplace to the unconventional, the natural to the synthetic, the elemental to the composite: from plastic, water, and wood, to hair, and gunpowder.
Artists continue to explore and develop this creative mode, with some devoting decades of their practice to experiments with a single material. For the first time, The Allure of Matter brings together works from the past four decades in which conscious material choice has become a symbol of the artists’ expression, representing this unique trend throughout recent history.
The exhibition features approximately 48 monumental works that are complementary in form, material, and visual effect.
Artists include: Ai Weiwei, Cai Guo-Qiang, Chen Zhen, Gu Dexin, Gu Wenda, He Xiangyu, Hu Xiaoyuan, Huang Yong Ping, Jin Shan, Liang Shaoji, Lin Tianmiao, Liu Jianhua, Liu Wei, Ma Qiusha, Shi Hui, Song Dong, Sui Jianguo, Sun Yuan and Peng Yu, Wang Jin, Xu Bing, Yin Xiuzhen, Zhan Wang, Zhang Yu, and Zhu Jinshi.
The Allure of Matter is co-organized by the Smart Museum of Art with Wrightwood 659 and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Seattle Art Museum, and the Peabody Essex Museum.
The exhibition is curated by Wu Hung, Smart Museum Adjunct Curator, Harrie A. Vanderstappen Distinguished Service Professor of Art History, and Director of the Center for the Art of East Asia at the University of Chicago, with Orianna Cacchione, Smart Museum Curator of Global Contemporary Art.
The national tour of this exhibition is supported by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Support for the exhibition and its catalogue has been provided by principal sponsors the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation and by Lorna Ferguson and Terry Clark. Additional support has been provided by the Museum’s SmartPartners.