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Thu: 1 PM–8 PM
Fri–Mon: 10 AM–5 PM
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200 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA 94102

From Two Arises Three: The Collaborative Works of Arnold Chang and Michael Cherney

Photography and Chinese ink painting meld in contemporary exhibition

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Borders, 2013, by Michael Cherney (American, b. 1969) and Arnold Chang (American, b. 1954). Photographic inkjet print and ink on paper. Lent from the Collection of Arnold Chang and Michael Cherney, R2014.4.5.

SAN FRANCISCO, July 7, 2014 — When Chinese ink painter Arnold Chang and photographer Michael Cherney met for the first time in 2007, they recognized a compatibility between Chang’s personal brushwork and Cherney’s granular photographs, which recall the aesthetics of ink painting. Since 2009, they have been creating joint works that strive to bridge the gap between the traditions of Chinese ink painting and the concerns of contemporary art. Twenty of their works will be showcased at the Asian Art Museum in the exhibition From Two Arises Three: The Collaborative Works of Arnold Chang and Michael Cherney, on view from July 15¬, 2014, through March 1, 2015.

Although both Chang and Cherney are New York-born, the artists’ contrasting backgrounds encapsulate a dialogue between traditional and contemporary approaches to art, as well as between Asian and Western artistic modes. Chang is a Chinese American ink painter who studied with the “Two Wangs,” Wang Jiyuan (1895–1974) and C. C. Wang (1907–2003), in New York, as well as with art historian James Cahill (1926–2014) in Berkeley. Cherney, on the other hand, is a self-taught photographer who has lived in China since 1991. His work is informed by his admiration for the materials and themes of traditional ink painting.

While their collaboration takes a variety of forms, typically Cherney travels to historic sites in China and takes black-and-white 35 mm photographs. Using a fast film, he purposely brings the grain of the photograph to the forefront. At a certain point, the grain of the photographs begins to resemble the brushstrokes of painting. He then prints the image on Chinese xuan paper—normally used not for photography but for works of ink—and he passes it along to Chang. Chang expands the photographic image into a larger work by means of the brush.

Highlights of the exhibition include the collaborative artworks Huangshan, Borders, After Li Sixun 2, and After Wang Meng. The exhibition also features noncollaborative works by Chang and Cherney.

Presentation at the Asian Art Museum is made possible with the generous support of The Shau-Wai & Marie Lam Family Foundation. Senior research fellow of Chinese painting and calligraphy in the museum’s Research Institute Joseph Chang curated the exhibition.

From Two Arises Three Exhibition Tour
Wednesday, July 16, 3:30 PM (approximately 30 minutes)
Meet at the information desk, free with museum admission

Chinese ink painter Arnold Chang and photographer Michael Cherney will be giving a guided tour of the exhibition From Two Arises Three: The Collaborative Works of Arnold Chang and Michael Cherney.


A fully illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition, published by Early Spring Press. Catalogue includes foreword by Asian Art Museum director Jay Xu with essays by Stephen D. Allee, Anita Chung, Michael J. Hatch and Joseph Scheier-Dolberg. Available in paperback, $30, at the Asian Art Museum store: 415.581.3600 or [email protected].

About the Asian Art Museum

The Asian Art Museum–Chong-Moon Lee Center for Asian Art and Culture is one of San Francisco’s premier arts institutions and home to a world-renowned collection of more than 18,000 Asian art treasures spanning 6,000 years of history. Through rich art experiences, centered on historic and contemporary artworks, the Asian Art Museum unlocks the past for visitors, bringing it to life while serving as a catalyst for new art, new creativity and new thinking.

Information: 415.581.3500 or

Location: 200 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

Hours: The museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 10 AM to 5 PM. From Feb. 6 through Sept. 11, 2014, hours are extended on Thursdays until 9 PM. Closed Mondays, as well as New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

General Admission: FREE for museum members, $15 for adults, $10 for seniors (65+), college students with ID, and youths (13–17). FREE for children under 12 and SFUSD students with ID. General admission on Thursdays after 5 PM is $5 for all visitors (except those under 12, SFUSD students, and museum members, who are always admitted FREE). General admission is FREE to all on Target First Free Sundays (the first Sunday of every month). A surcharge may apply for admission to special exhibitions.

Access: The Asian Art Museum is wheelchair accessible. For more information regarding access: 415.581.3598; TDD: 415.861.2035.


Press Release Types: Exhibitions, Programs & Events