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The Liu Kuo-sung Reader

The Liu Kuo-sung Reader

Selected Texts on and by the Artist, 1950s–Present

Edited by Eugene Y. Wang, Valerie C. Doran, and Alan C. Yeung

ISBN 9781736086407

Publication date: 04/02/2024

In a career spanning seven decades, Liu Kuo-sung (Liu Guosong, born 1932 in China) has singlehandedly reinvented the millennium-old tradition of ink painting. His abstract landscapes and cosmographs subvert established conventions of brushwork and composition to embrace expansive visions of the cosmos. As both practitioner and theorist, Liu serves as a model for generations of artists. He has received the highest artistic awards in the Sinosphere and is the only non-Western painter elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Yet his contributions have remained poorly integrated into the global history of modern and contemporary art.

The Liu Kuo-sung Reader, the first anthology in English devoted to the painter, redresses this oversight. The texts gathered here—many of them previously untranslated or unpublished—trace Liu’s journey from his childhood of poverty and migration across war-torn China, to his rise as the firebrand leader of an avant-garde movement in Cold War–era Taiwan and Hong Kong, to his celebrated return to mainland China as a modernist forerunner and educator during the economic liberalization of the 1980s and 1990s. Richly illustrated and arranged in dynamic dialogue, these texts illuminate issues that Liu has confronted throughout his life and that resonate today: the meaning of tradition, the politics of artmaking, and the dynamics of creative freedom.


  • Eugene Y. Wang is the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Professor of Asian Art at Harvard University and the founding director of Harvard FAS CAMLab, an initiative that explores the nexus of cognition, art, and media. A Guggenheim Fellow, he is also the art history editor of the Encyclopedia of Buddhism. His extensive publications range from early Chinese art and archeology to modern and contemporary Chinese art and cinema.
  • Valerie C. Doran is an independent scholar and curator in the field of Chinese modern and contemporary art, and past associate editor of Orientations magazine. She is currently a Fellow at CAMLab, Harvard University.
  • Alan C. Yeung is an art historian and curator. Currently Curatorial Fellow at CAMLab, Harvard University, he was previously Associate Curator at Ink Studio, Beijing, and has created a series of short documentaries on contemporary Chinese ink artists.

Book Details

  • 288 pages
  • 8-1/2 x 11 inches
  • Harvard FAS CAMLab