“Universal Dimensions: The Space Art of Wang Ming” on Display at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum Starting April 9

April 7, 2009
News Release

“Universal Dimensions: The Space Art of Wang Ming” showcases the art of Chinese painter Wang Ming through 35 works that are part of the artist’s personal collection. Since leaving China in 1951, Ming, a former air traffic controller and art framer, has strived to make art that builds a bridge of understanding between people of all nationalities and cultures. The exhibition will be on display at the National Air and Space Museum’s National Mall building from April 9 through Oct. 9.

At the age of six, Ming began strict daily training in traditional Chinese calligraphy, learning to “use the brush to express beauty and movement of lines.” The strong, gestural brush strokes in some of his works are reminiscent of calligraphy but reflect a modern context in their color and execution. Like the abstract expressionists, in the 1950s Ming explored the use of untraditional materials, such as acrylic paints and Pellon (fabric interfacing) in his art. In the 1960s, he exhibited with such Washington Color School luminaries as Kenneth Noland and Gene Davis. Now 86, he has worked every day since coming to this country, and his bold colorful abstractions reveal his inner strength and vitality.

Ming’s relationship with the National Air and Space Museum dates back to the beginning of the museum’s art collection. In 1974, James Dean, founding director of the NASA Art Program, became the museum’s first art curator and transferred more than 2,000 works of art to its collection. Dean also added works by Ming to the growing art collection that currently holds 4,700 works of art.

The National Air and Space Museum building on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., is located at Sixth Street and Independence Avenue S.W. The museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is located in Chantilly, Va., near Washington Dulles International Airport. Both facilities are open daily from 10 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25). Admission is free, but there is a $15 fee for parking at the Udvar-Hazy Center.

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