Does the Past Have a Future? Ruminating on “Traditional” Chinese Painting

September 29, 2019 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Sunken Ballroom

Arnold Chang, Modern Master of Chinese Painting

There is a tendency for people to assume that art is either “traditional” or “contemporary,” that traditional art is art of the past and contemporary art is art of the present. For painter and art historian Arnold Chang, Chinese painting is a living tradition that embodies the past and embraces the present, but also anticipates the future. Chang’s talk will explore some ways in which Chinese paintings of the past can be understood in terms of modern and contemporary aesthetics. He will identify some strategies that he and other contemporary ink painters have adopted to keep Chinese painting relevant and allow it to continue to evolve into the future. Chang will conclude his talk with a brief discussion of materials and a demonstration of traditional painting techniques.

Arnold Chang is one of the most exciting artists to work in traditional Chinese media today. Highly admired by specialists in the field, Chang is not only a superb painter but also a serious scholar and connoisseur. After receiving an M.A. in Chinese art history at UC Berkeley with James Cahill, he returned to New York City, his home town to study with the famed painter C.C. Wang (Wang Jiqian). He established the Chinese painting department at Sotheby’s and later worked for ten years at Kaikodo Gallery. An accomplished teacher and prolific author, today he devotes most of his time to painting.

Chang’s works have been exhibited at leading museums in the U.S. and China, and are in the collection of major museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.

Sponsored by the Asian Art Council.

This lecture is open and free to the public. Advanced tickets recommended.

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The Portland Art Museum is pleased to offer accommodations to ensure that our programs are accessible and inclusive. All spaces for this program are accessible by wheelchair. Assistive listening devices are also available for lectures. All restrooms have accessible stalls but no power doors. There are single-stall all-gender bathrooms available. Please ask staff for directions.

We will do our best to accommodate your needs when you arrive, however, we need 2-3 weeks advance notice for some specific requests. Please email requests to, or call 503-226-2811.

Arnold Chang, Landscape [2015.03], 2015
Arnold Chang, Landscape [2015.03], 2015, Ink and Color on Paper, 57 x 29 3/4 in.