Xu Bing’s cultural evolution
The timing was lucky, he says: the Western interest in post-Tiananmen China created an appetite for the work of Chinese contemporary artists.
He is an expressive speaker, answering questions at length with a formidable intensity that lightens, endearingly, into occasional giggles. In —"by choice, not necessity"—Xu Bing joined the exodus of Chinese artists leaving for America, and took over the New York studio of his fellow expatriate Ai Weiwei. He is slight, almost boyish; dressed in stylish monochrome, with a Beethoven shock of dark hair and round, horn-rimmed spectacles. Everyone was reading Western thinkers, and I wanted to like the same things as my contemporaries, so I tried too.