February 12–October 16, 2022

Wang Qingsong Social Mobility exhibition ID

Wang Qingsong is a Chinese artist who lives and works in Beijing and whose evocative large-scale photographs function as social commentary.

This collection of images is full of the artist’s satirical wit, attention to photographic detail, and references to traditional Chinese and Western art history. Each work interprets dramatic social, political, and economic changes brought about by the rise of globalization in China during the early 2000s.

Using teams of actors and crew, the artist creates epic tableaux that parody aspects of society, including the pervasive influence of global consumerism on traditional Chinese culture, the rapid growth of a middle class, and increased communication with the rest of the world.

Two themes, “Images of Culture” and “Images of Conflict,” present the paradox posed in these works of increased social mobility in China, while physical movement of people at the time was sometimes restricted.

This exhibition was curated in collaboration with the artist, Wang Qingsong. Members of the community, including Museum docents, submitted personal responses to works of art on view and these responses are available on an in-gallery exhibition touch screen. The Museum would like to thank all community members who participated or who provided feedback on the exhibition.


This exhibition is made possible by a generous anonymous donation of eight photographs to the Museum’s permanent collection.


Featured at top right: Wang Qingsong, Preschool, 2002. Chromogenic photograph. Museum purchase with funds from an anonymous donor, 2019.19.