US' Hirshhorn Museum honors Chinese artist Ai Jing

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The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington held its annual New York gala at the Lincoln Center on Nov 6.

Chinese folk singer-songwriter and now contemporary artist Ai Jing (right) was honored at the annual New York gala of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington. [Photo provided to China Daily]

At the event, 32 female artists were recognized as "Three Generations of Trailblazing Women" for pioneering new forms of contemporary art.

Chinese folk singer-songwriter and now contemporary artist Ai Jing was honored along with other female artists, including Yoko Ono, Barbara Kruger and Yayoi Kusama.

Speaking at the event, Hirshhorn Director Melissa Chiu said: "Each year, the Hirshhorn celebrates artists from around the world who throughout their careers have continued to challenge and inspire us.

"This year, I am especially proud to honor 32 outstanding female artists — from pioneers of performance and video art to emerging painters and sculptors — whose collective contributions to the field have transformed the way we look at art and set the stage for generations of creative talents yet to come."

Ai, 47, a native of Shenyang in Liaoning province, learned music from her father, who played the erhu (a two-stringed bowed instrument).

Her debut album, My 1997, sold more than 200,000 copies within one month of its release in 1993. And her second album, Once Upon a Time on Yanfen Street, brought her recognition outside China.

In 1999, she took up painting under Chinese contemporary artist Zhang Xiaogang. In 2002, she moved to New York.

In 2012, she held her first solo exhibition, I Love Ai Jing, at the National Museum of China in Beijing and later at the China Art Museum of Shanghai in 2014.

She also exhibited her artworks at the Ambrosian Art Gallery of the Veneranda Biblioteca Ambrosiana Museum in Milan, Italy, in 2015 and at the Marlborough Gallery in New York in 2016.

Speaking about her work at the event, Ai said: "While creating artworks, I try to be gender-neutral so that my works gain a broader view. But inevitably, my works reflect my identity as a woman, both soft and powerful and both delicate and tolerant.

"I hope more Chinese artists, especially female artists, will have their voices heard worldwide."

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, founded in 1974 as the national museum of modern and contemporary art, has nearly 12,000 paintings, sculptures, photographs and mixed-media installations.

And for the past two years, the museum's New York and Washington galas have brought in more than $3.5 million to help the institution's world-class programs.

Its next Washington event is scheduled for the summer of 2018.

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