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Upcoming Exhibitions


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The Allure of Matter: Material Art from China

Jun 25 – Sep 13 2020

Seattle Art Museum

Simonyi Special Exhibition Galleries

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, gunpowder, and Coca-Cola. Artists continue to explore and develop this creative mode, with some devoting decades of their practice to experiments with a single material.

The Allure of Matter: Material Art from China 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 Allure of Matter will premiere at LACMA before traveling to the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago, the Seattle Art Museum, and finally the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts.

This exhibition is co-organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Smart Museum of Art with Wrightwood 659, the Seattle Art Museum, and the Peabody Essex Museum.

The exhibition is curated by Wu Hung, Smart Museum Adjunct Curator and Harrie A. Vanderstappen Distinguished Service Professor of Art History at the University of Chicago, with Orianna Cacchione, Smart Museum Curator of Global Contemporary Art.

National Tour Sponsor

Supporting Sponsors
Anne Gerber Endowment
Joan and Harry Stonecipher Exhibition Endowment

Additional Support
Contributors to the SAM Fund

Image: Untitled, 1989, Gu Dexin, Chinese, b. 1962, melted and adjoined plastic. Photo: Magiciens de la terre [Magicians of the Earth], Exhibition in the Centre Pompidou, Grande galerie, La Grande Halle de la Villette (May 18–August 29, 1989), Installation view of Untitled © Copyright 1989.

The Seattle Art Museum acknowledges that we are located on the ancestral land of the Coast Salish people.