In Liu Xiaodong's painting, Prostitute 2, a young woman stands on a bed in disarray. Her eyes averted from the viewer, she leans, with classic contraposition, on a wall as bare as she is. Xiaodong is known for such moments--even though his figures are Asian, the artist addresses the universal theme of humanity by creating portraits, social scenes and historic moments with a resolutely contemporary slant. Liu Xiaodong presents a broad overview of one of China's greatest painters, and retraces his illustrious career, which evolved concurrently with an increased interest in contemporary Chinese art and in the painterly tradition. Complementing numerous reproductions of Xiaodong's post-social realist works are critical essays by esteemed art writers and critics, including Jean Marc Decrop, Jeff Kelley, Charles Merewether and Wu Hung--all of whom offer contrasting and unique views of this multifaceted artist.
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