China’s Zhang Dali Among Artists Honored In MoMA’s Annual Photography Series

Profile Of Chinese Contemporary Artists Rising Both At Home, Among New Collectors, And Globally

An image from Zhang Dali's long-running series, "A Second History" (Image: Leap Magazine)

An image from Zhang Dali’s long-running series, “A Second History” (Image: Leap Magazine)

The eclectic Chinese artist Zhang Dali, whose career has evolved from graffiti and photography to sculpture and portraiture, has had a busy year. In April, Zhang launched his fifth exhibition, “New Slogan,” in New York, then in May took part in the “Love And Hope” Japan charity event in Beijing, which raised money for Japanese earthquake and tsunami relief. In June, Zhang’s “A Second History (2003-2010)” series was included in the “Speech Matters” exhibition at the Danish Pavilion at the Venice Art Bienniale. Next month, Zhang is set to be feted once again, at the 26th annual New Photography exhibition at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), where he will be celebrated alongside five other artists from around the world: Moyra Davey, George Georgiou, Deana Lawson, Doug Rickard, and Viviane Sassen.

As organizer Dan Leers said in a release this week, “Whether using an appropriative practice like Zhang Dali, analog forms of communication like Moyra Davey, the documentary approach of George Georgiou, conventions of portraiture like Deana Lawson, web-based images like Doug Rickard, or Viviane Sassen’s self-reflective analysis, each of the artists in New Photography 2011 has his or her own individual means of addressing issues relevant to the world today.”

For his section, Zhang will again present “A Second History” at the exhibition. As Art Daily notes, “For this work, Dali analyzes photographs that were manipulated for use as propaganda under Mao Tse Tung’s Communist regime. Acting as an archivist, he juxtaposes original source materials from Chinese archives and periodicals with the altered images used to spur the Communist revolution. Seen side by side, the images reveal the meticulousness of Maoist censors who retouched, colored, and drastically changed the photographs, often adding or removing entire figures from the frame.”

Inclusion in this year’s MoMA Photography series is a great achievement for Zhang Dali, but it’s not really surprising, considering the growing popularity of “blue-chip” Chinese contemporary photographers both at international museums and among China’s new art collectors. As Jing Daily wrote earlier this year, as Christie’s prepared its spring auctions in Hong Kong:

Owing to the relatively lower price points for established blue-chip Chinese photographers compared to painters, and the rising international and domestic profile of photographers like Wang Qingsong (who recently had a solo exhibition in New York), Zhang Huan (host of Diane Von Furstenberg’s Red Ball in Shanghai), and Hai Bo (who in the last year had solo exhibitions at the Sackler Gallery in Washington, DC and Pace/MacGill in New York), look for a prolific Chinese collector — possibly one who’s looking to open a private museum — to bid aggressively.

The Museum of Modern Art 26th Annual New Photography Exhibition
September 27, 2011 – January 16, 2012
Robert and Joyce Menschel Gallery
11 West 53rd Street, New York, NY
Tel: (212) 708-9400



Art & Design, Market Analysis