Born in 1950 in Hong Kong, Tseng Kwong Chi (Joseph Tseng) attended St. Joseph’s Boys School until 1966, when his family immigrated to Vancouver, Canada. Educated in Canada and Paris France, Kwong Chi settled in New York in 1978, forming an intimate circle of artists: Keith Haring, Kenny Scharf, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Cindy Sherman, that took center stage of the New York art world during the 1980’s. Kwong Chi viewed himself as a citizen of the world, his ironic self-portraits, posed in a Mao suit in front of American, European landmarks and landscapes were profoundly influential for China’s avant-garde such as Song Dong and Zhang Huan. He also took over 50,000 photographs of his famous artist friends, an important historical archive of the 1980’s art world.
In 2010, the work of Tseng Kwong Chi will be in exhibitions at the Centre Pompidou Museum in Paris, France, the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC, the Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York, and the Jerome de Noirmont Gallery in Paris, France. The work is in many important public collections, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Walker Museum of Art, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and in significant private and corporate collections such as the Rubell Family Collection, the Alturas Collection, the Hallmark and Dow Jones Collections. Tseng’s photographs were shown publicly in China for the first time at the 2004 Shanghai Biennale.