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Huang Yong Ping
Tower Snake, installation view
Gladstone Gallery
Photo by David Regen
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by Elisabeth Kley

The pathetic mass of pulpy paper that is Huang Yong Ping’s The History of Chinese Painting and the History of Modern Western Art Washed in the Washing Machine for Two Minutes (1987) is a simple and brilliant rebuttal to anyone’s dreams of cultural purity. Huang arrived in Paris in 1989 to show this work in Hubert Martin’s groundbreaking "Magiciens de la Terre," one of the first large-scale exhibitions with a truly global perspective. Soon after, the shootings at Tiananmen Square signaled that China’s temporary liberalization had ended, and Huang decided to remain in Paris. Ten years later, he represented France in the Venice Biennale.