You don’t always have to go to a world-famous museum to see a great art exhibition. That’s the message Cheryl McGinnis, chief art correspondent for Cheddar.com, eagerly relayed after visiting Connecticut College recently to see “Zhang Hongtu: Van Gogh/Bodhidharma,” which ran last April in Shain Library’s Charles Chu Asian Art Reading Room.
“This is a small show, but a very important show,” McGinnis said. “To see it in this setting within a college campus in a library is amazing.”
Zhang, a New York-based Chinese immigrant who has earned international acclaim for his work in different media, is known for challenging the Chinese government and exploring themes relating to East-West cultural divides. In this exhibition, his paintings blend van Gogh’s self-portraits with the style of classical Zen portraits of Bodhidharma, the first Zen Buddhist.
Zhang’s exhibition at Conn, which associate professor of Chinese Yibing Huang helped to curate, was recently featured at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City as part of its exhibition, “Art and China After 1989: Theatre of the World.”
Most of the 39 ink paintings on display at the College were being shared publicly for the first time. Zhang has also created a new video installation specifically for the exhibition at Conn. The show is free and open to the public.