Ying: Inspired by the Art and History of China

art and artifacts by Chinese and Chinese-American artists

Exhibited from February 23 2008 – June 29 2008

Ying: Inspired by the Art and History of China offers a new path of discovery through these historical, traditional and contemporary art and artifacts by Chinese and Chinese-American artists and artisans. The Museum continues to organize exhibitions that address the intersection of history and contemporary art, and as we are fully committed to embracing our community, we have included Santa Cruz artists whose works are greatly influenced by Chinese art and history.

The people of China and the United States continually strive to make changes that will engender strength and compassion in our societies. Sometimes we fail to meet our expectations; more often we succeed. One of the undisputed areas where we excel is in art. Art sustains us through the dark times by providing a way to express our horror, concern and sadness; art also serves as a vehicle to express our joy in the more golden moments. The historic works and contemporary art in Ying demonstrate the need for human beings to live with and among beauty and truth.

The contemporary artworks included in this exhibition are visual manifestations of living in a complex, global world. Most were created to celebrate our shared humanity; others call attention to our challenges, such as racism, global warming, government unrest or social issues of the present or past.

Goals of the Exhibit

When the idea for this exhibition was conceived, three curatorial goals were formed. Goal number one was to share the belief that China and America are separated only by a crossable ocean and transcend-able preconceptions and limitations of language. This exhibition serves as a confirmation that artists on both sides of the Pacific Ocean are connected by their passion for excellence and by visual statements that speak to freedom of expression.

The second goal was the desire to convey mutual solidarity, cultural commonalities and shared aesthetics. We find this in the exchange of stylistic approaches, in the artists’ honest assessments of historical and current events and in the full range of materials that are used in similar and dissimilar ways by both Eastern and Western artists.

Finally, the third objective was an overreaching aspiration to design a checklist of art and objects that would inspire dialogue and delight the senses. The evidence is before you.


Ying is a Mandarin word meaning welcome. The Board of Trustees, Staff and Volunteer Council of the Museum of Art & History warmly welcome our esteemed artists, our loyal members and supporters and our honored guests. We offer this exhibition as a gesture of friendship and as a way to spark curiosity to increase our knowledge of the art and history of China.