"Tseng’s photographs address issues of popular culture, politics, cosmopolitanism, and cultural diversity. Humor and a keen observational eye combine to produce work that is both intelligent and accessible,” Janet Dees, Block Museum Curator
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, 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.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.
Whether you go or not, Tseng Kwong Chi: Performing for the Camera is the first comprehensive survey of the work of Tseng Kwong Chi, the revered photographer and performance artist of the 1980s. Reproducing more than 100 works by Tseng from the late 1970s to the late 1980s, and including archival materials from his commissions for the Soho Weekly News, the book presents Tseng's best-known self-portrait series, East Meets West, as well as lesser--known works, plus portraits of his friends Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Kenny Scharf, among others.