Contemporary Artist Hung Liu Gives Artist’s Talk in Conjunction with “Under Pressure: Contemporary Prints from the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and his Family Foundation”

Liu will speak on Saturday, March 7, at 2 p.m. at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art


EUGENE, Ore. -- (February 16, 2015) – In conjunction with the exhibition “Under Pressure: Contemporary Prints from the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and his Family Foundation,” Chinese artist Hung Liu will lead an artist’s talk at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art on Saturday, March 7, at 2 p.m.


Liu, Professor Emerita at Mills College in California, is known for paintings based on historical Chinese photographs. Her subjects over the years have been prostitutes, refugees, street performers, soldiers, laborers, and prisoners, among others. Washing her subjects in veils of dripping linseed oil that, she once remarked, “both preserve and destroy the image,” Liu has invented a kind of weeping realism that embodies ideas like the erosion of memory and the passage of time, while also bringing faded photographic images vividly to life as rich, facile paintings. She summons the ghosts of history into the present. 


Liu was born in Changchun, China, in 1948 and grew up in Beijing during the Cultural Revolution. Following her high school graduation in 1968, Liu was sent to labor in the countryside for four years as part of Mao Zedong’s plan to “re-educate” members of the intellectual class. During this time, she photographed and drew portraits of the peasant farmers and their families. In 1972, she entered the Revolutionary Entertainment Department of Beijing’s Teachers College to study art and education, where she graduated in 1975. Liu taught at the Jing Shan School and hosted a weekly televised art lesson, “How to Draw and Paint.”


1n 1981, she was accepted into the graduate program in visual arts at University of California at San Diego but had to wait for years for the Chinese government to issue her passport;  she received her MFA in 1986. In 1991, she returned to China and discovered a treasure-trove of turn-of-the-century photos of Chinese prostitutes, which became source material for her paintings.


Liu’s background inspires her work, and her paintings are steeped in contemporary and ancient Chinese culture. She blends images from 7th Century Tang tomb mural paintings of princes and princesses with Western imagery, such as St. Christopher carrying a baby across the river. These images are surrounded by abstract patterns -- her signature circles of color. Liu’s life experiences inform her work as well as her interests in history, gender, identity, and Chinese politics and culture.


“Under Pressure: Contemporary Prints from the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and his Family Foundation” features work by forty artists spanning the last five decades. The exhibition is on view at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art until March 29, 2015.


“Under Pressure” considers major currents in contemporary art, among them Abstract Expressionism, Minimalism, Photorealism, and Pop Art. It explores innovations specific to printmaking, including recent advancements in technology that have reinvigorated the print’s role in art production. The works on view address diverse themes, from feminism and civil rights to the use of art as social critique.


The selection of work in “Under Pressure” comes from the extensive holdings of collector and University of Oregon alumnus Jordan Schnitzer and was organized by the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, Nebraska. Support for the exhibition and related educational and outreach programs has been made possible by a grant from the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation, the Coeta and Donald Barker Changing Exhibitions Endowment, The Harold and Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation, the Oregon Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, and JSMA members.



About the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art

The University of Oregon's Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is a premier Pacific Northwest museum for exhibitions and collections of historic and contemporary art based in a major university setting. The mission of the museum is to enhance the University of Oregon’s academic mission and to further the appreciation and enjoyment of the visual arts for the general public.  The JSMA features significant collections galleries devoted to art from China, Japan, Korea, America and elsewhere as well as changing special exhibition galleries.  The JSMA is one of six museums in Oregon accredited by the American Association of Museums.


The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is located on the University of Oregon campus at 1430 Johnson Lane. Museum hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesdays, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays through Sundays. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for senior citizens. Free admission is given to ages 18 and under, JSMA members, college students with ID, and University of Oregon faculty, staff and students. For information, contact the JSMA, 541-346-3027.


About the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation (JSFF)

Jordan D. Schnitzer purchased his first work of art when he was fourteen years old from his mother, Arlene Schnitzer, who started the first contemporary art gallery in Portland, Oregon, the Fountain Gallery. It was through her and her gallery that his initial acquisition of one painting turned into a lifelong pursuit of being an art patron. Jordan began buying contemporary prints and multiples in earnest in 1988. As the collection grew, so did inquiries from museums wishing to buy prints for exhibitions. The public nature of these initial exhibitions sparked a passion for sharing the collection that is the basis of the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation and Lending Program. The Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation makes its collections of post-war works of art available to museums at no cost.  In addition, it also provides funds for education and community outreach programs. To learn more about JSFF, contact:  Catherine Malone, Collection Manager, (503) 973-0267,


About the University of Oregon

The University of Oregon is among the 108 institutions chosen from 4,633 U.S. universities for top-tier designation of "Very High Research Activity" in the 2010 Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The UO also is one of two Pacific Northwest members of the Association of American Universities.


JSMA: Debbie Williamson Smith, 541-346-0942,

JSFF Media Inquiries:  Susanne Orton, VP of Marketing and Communications, 503-973-0298,


Links: Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art,
Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation (JSFF),