Asian Arts | Exhibitions
Chang Daichien: Biography | Introduction | Chag Dai-chien: Gallery

Chang Dai-chien in California
Exhibition at San Francisco State University
Symposium at the M.H de Young Memorial Museum

San Francisco State University presents Chang Dai-chien in California, an exhibition of 40 paintings by the acclaimed Chinese artist and other materials, September 26 through November 20, 1999 in the Art Department Gallery in the Fine Arts Building on the university's campus. Chang Dai-chien in California is the first exhibition of work made by Chang during his residency on the Monterey Peninsula from 1967 to 1977, a period when he developed a "splash color and splash ink" technique and radical media handling evocative of Abstract Expressionism. Chang Dai-chien in California commemorates the 100th anniversary of the artist's birth and is presented as part of SFSU's Centennial Celebration. The exhibition and symposium are cosponsored by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and the National Museum of History of Taiwan, with support from China Airlines and the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation.

The best-known Chinese painter of the 20th century, Chang Dai-chien (1899-1983) is often referred to as the "Picasso of China" and is believed to have produced nearly 30,000 original works. During nearly 30 years living in the Americas (Brazil and California), Chang developed stylistic innovations that revolutionized traditional Chinese painting. However, his work is rarely considered outside the context of this literati tradition, even in such important exhibitions as Challenging the Past. The Paintings of Chang Dai-chien, which was organized in 1991 by the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution and later traveled to the Asia Society in New York City and the St. Louis Art Museum.

"This exhibition is the most important Bay Area display of Chang's artistic achievement since the 1972 retrospective at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco," says Mark Johnson, professor of art and director of the SFSU Art Department Gallery. "This is also the best opportunity ever to consider the importance of Chang's California paintings, which are very clearly inspired by the region's natural landmarks such as Big Sur and Yosemite."

Chang was frequently forced to live abroad due to social crises in China. In the late 1960s Chang acquired two homes near Carmel on the Monterey Peninsula, which would become his principal residence for the next decade. His home became an important destination for artists from throughout Northern California, and he showed his work in exhibitions at several Bay Area venues. Chang was acquainted with many prominent California art figures, including Ansel Adams and James Cahill. Chang's widow and many children and grandchildren continue to reside on the central California coast.

Three consecutive days of events to open the Chang Dai-chien Centennial Celebration begin at 11:30 am on Friday, September 24 at San Francisco's City Hall with a special ribbon-cutting event hosted by Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr.; Supervisor Mabel Teng, artist Ou Hao-nien and members of Chang Dai- chien's family. The Chang Dai-chien Centennial Celebration continues with a special symposium at 1 pm on Saturday, September 25 at the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum examining the artist's life and work. Speakers will include Michael Sullivan, professor emeritus, Stanford University; James Cahill, professor emeritus, University of California, Berkeley; Paul Karlstrom, director, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution; Gordon Chang,  professor, Stanford University; artist C.C. Wang; and Hung Liu, artist and professor of art at Mills College. The gala opening reception for Chang Dai-chien in California will be held from 1 to 4 pm on Sunday, September 26 at the Art Department Gallery. Admission to all events is free.

Chang Dai-chien in California represents the latest example of SFSU's commitment to research and exhibition of the creative legacy of Asian American artists active in the state. Previous exhibitions have included With New Eyes: Toward an Asian American Art History in the Westin 1995 and Sino Ka? /Ano Ka ?: San Francisco Babaylan in 1998. The university also received a $82,900 grant in 1997 from the National Endowment for the Humanities to produce a directory of Asian American artists active in California from 1840 to 1965.

What: Art Exhibition Chang Dai-chien in California
When: September 26 - November 20, 1999
Reception: Sunday, September 26, 1 - 4 pm
Where: Art Department Gallery, Fine Arts Building San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway Avenue
Hours: Tuesday - Saturday, 12 - 4 pm; Wednesday, 12 - 7 pm
Admission: Free
Info: 415/338-6535 -a gallery

Asian Arts | Exhibitions
Chang Daichien: Biography | Introduction | Chag Dai-chien: Gallery