Where is Mao?

Where is Mao?

Hung Liu, Chinese, American, 1948
Born: Changchun, China
Work Locations: Oakland, CA
Graphite on canvas
Gift from Vicki and Kent Logan to the Collection of the Denver Art Museum
Hung Liu (Chinese, American). Where is Mao?. 1988-2008. Graphite on canvas. Gift from Vicki and Kent Logan to the Collection of the Denver Art Museum. 2015.615E.
height: 8 in, 20.3200 cm; width: 10 in, 25.4000 cm; frame height: 8 7/8 in, 22.2250 cm; frame width: 10 7/8 in, 27.3050 cm; frame depth: 1 1/2 in, 3.8100 cm
1 of set of 10
Hand written inscription in graphite: "Meeting Khrushchev August 1958"
Modern and Contemporary Art
Modern and Contemporary Art

Hung Liu combines China’s history with her childhood perception of the socialist Utopian dream in “Where is Mao?” These drawings explore Mao Zedong’s legacies of the Cultural Revolution and the “Great Leap Forward,” which greatly influenced Liu’s life and work. Bringing ghosts of the past to the present in these images, Liu utilized photographs of Chairman Mao in various interactions with common people and world leaders, but erased his face. “I was trying to find my own identity as a Chinese in America. I was erasing Mao’s-after all, he didn’t need a face…because he hung like a picture in our minds (Liu and Hung, “Sixty Years on a Hard Journey,” 98-99).” 

Born in Changchun, China in 1948, Liu grew up in a time that China was under the Maoist regime. She received a BA of Fine Art from Beijing Teachers college, and an MFA from the University of California, San Diego, with a focus in mural painting.

©  Hung Liu

Exhibition History
  • "Half-Life of a Dream: Contemporary Chinese Art from the Logan Collection"- San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, July 10, 2008 - October 5, 2008
  • "Summoning Ghosts: The Art of Hung Liu"- Oakland Museum of California, Oakland CA, March 16 - June 30, 2013
  • later traveled to: Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City MO, October 10, 2014 - January 11, 2015 and Palm Springs Art Museum, Palm Springs CA, February 24 - May 24, 2015

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