Milwaukee Art Museum Celebrates 3,000 Years of Chinese Art with Five Exhibitions

This summer, experience three thousand years of Chinese art and culture in five exhibitions at the Milwaukee Art Museum. This exhibition series, titled the Summer of CHINA, is part of a year-long celebration honoring the ten-year anniversary of the Museum’s Santiago Calatrava–designed Quadracci Pavilion.

The highlight exhibition is The Emperor’s Private Paradise: Treasures from the Forbidden City, an exhibition that has already received rave reviews in the Boston Globe, New York Times, and Los Angeles Times. This exhibition is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Museum visitors to see over ninety objects of ceremony and leisure from the interiors and cultural artifacts within the Forbidden City’s Qianlong Garden. The Museum is one of only three in the world to showcase these exquisite objects, hidden away for centuries, and never before seen by the public.

Warriors, Beasts, and Spirits: Early Chinese Art from the James Conley Collection travels back in time to the ancient sculpture of the Han, Tang, and Ming periods. Emerald Mountains: Modern Chinese Ink Paintings from the Chu-tsing Li Collection explores how mid-twentieth-century artists adapted centuries-old techniques of ink painting to modern concepts of style. On Site: Zhan Wang looks at how a contemporary artist working in Beijing found inspiration in the ancient Chinese tradition of scholars’ rocks. And lastly, Way of the Dragon: The Chinoiserie Style, 1710–1830 (opening June 30) serves as a critical counterpoint by addressing how Chinese art influenced styles in Great Britain and America during the eighteenth century—at the very moment when the Qianlong emperor was incorporating Western influences into his designs of the Qianlong Garden.

A broad range of CHINA-related programs will accompany the exhibitions throughout the summer, including children’s activities, adult lectures on Chinese art and culture, and a Chinese-themed MAM After Dark. In July, the Museum partners with the Milwaukee Chinese Cultural Community Center to unveil the city’s first Chinese Cultural Fest. Everyone is invited to join the Museum in learning about and celebrating this very old—yet very modern—civilization.

Image: Panel with niches (hanging). From Cuishanglou. Zitan, painted and gilt clay, colors on silk. 65 ½ x 36 ½ x 1 ½ inches (166 x 93 x 3.7 cm). © Palace Museum.

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