China Cultural Department Opens Public Museum Celebrating NYC Artist Kwong Lum

  • NEW YORK, New York
  • /
  • February 04, 2013

  • Email
View of Kwong Lum Museum on site of botanical garden and zoo.
Kwong Lum working on a painting.

The first Chinese government funded museum to honor a living Chinese American artist celebrates the contemporary art of New York based artist Kwong Lum.  Located in in the Cultural Department of Xinhui in the city of Jiangmen, Guangdong Province, the Kwong Lum Museum will feature the artist’s work and the Sai Yang Tang Collection of antiquities. It will also serve as a center for Sino-foreign cultural activities and as a research base on antiquities from the Xinhui district.

The 592,015 square foot museum designed by Zhang Yu Pearl River International Architects is set to open on April 28, 2013.  A preview of items from the permanent collection will be on view in New York City, February 16 -18, at Gianguan Auctions on Madison Avenue.

 Mr. Lum is known as the innovator of an ink-splash technique derived from traditional calligraphy.  His 1987 work “The New Eighty-Seven Immortals” showed figurations of men and women moving together in excessive celebration that resembled a style prevalent in the Tang Dynasty.

In the early nineties, Kwong Lum and his student Jia Chen evolved a technique for making calligraphy flow into free-form pictoral signs. By foregoing the meaning of the individual signs, the technique they called “Unconstrained Freehand Cursive Script” allowed the artists to achieve an unbridled spontaneity. The resulting patterns can be interpreted as floating clouds or immortal dancing. To those familiar with calligraphy, it evolves the work of art critic Xie He, who advanced calligraphy in the Wei and Jin Periods.

Mr. Lum works on large canvases using commercial paint rollers to create ribbon-like configurations with a stylized abstraction. Using smaller rollers, he creates a foreground of details that, in the case of his acclaimed 199X series “Crying Warhol,” resulted in portraits of Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock, Roy Lichtenstein, Mark Rothko and others.

Kwong Lum and Frank Robinson at unveiling of painting in Johnson Museum collection.

While stating he is  Inspired by the Chinese philosopher Lao-Tzu, Kwong Lum is also informed by the works of the  Picasso and Braque who explored this idea early in the 20th C. It was then revived by DeKooning during the mid-20th C. 

In addition to Mr. Lum’s works of art, the museum’s permanent collection will include antiquities from the Sai Yang Tang Collection. Among the breath taking Chinese relics are such Song Dynasty treasures as Emperor Huizong’s calligraphy and painting, General Yue Fei's hand-written calligraphy, the Rive Red. Contemporary masterworks include those by Qi Baisi,  Li Keran, Wu Changshu, Ding Yanyong. Porcelain items include Famille-rose enamel porcelain, Wucai Porcelain, Underglazed Blue and Copper Red. Bronzes and Works of Art such as Yixing Zisha Teapots.


Kwong Lum is a Chinese American artist and scholar living in New York.  He s a graduate of Ontario College of Art and president of Gianguan Auctions. He is Chief Appraisal Counsel of the National Museum of China Appraisal Center, President Emeritus of Jiangmen Yanhuang Culture Research; International Society of Chinese Art Collectors.

Kwong Lum has been profiled on China Central Television Program “David’s File: The Treasure Archives of China, broadcast in 2005 in a four-part series.  He has been named Passionate Mad Collector.

Mary Ann Lum
Gianguan Auctions

  • Email

Related Press Releases