Xu Bing was born in Chongqing, China in 1955. During the final years of the Cultural Revolution (1965-76), he was sent to the countryside to perform farm labor as an “educated youth.” In 1977 he entered the printmaking department of The Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing (CAFA) where he completed his bachelor’s degree in 1981, stayed on as an instructor and then earned his MFA in 1987. In 1990, on the invitation of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he moved to the United States. Xu currently serves as the Vice President of CAFA.
Solo exhibitions of his work have been held at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC; the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York and the Joan Miro Foundation, Spain, amongst other major institutions. Additionally, Xu Bing has shown at the 45th and 51st Venice Biennales; the Biennale of Sydney and the Johannesburg Biennale amongst other international exhibitions.
Over the years, Xu Bing’s work has appeared in high-school and college text-books around the world including Art Past – Art Present, Gardner’s Art Through the Ages and Greg Clunas’s Chinese Art a volume in the Oxford History of Art series. In 2006, the Princeton University Press published Persistence/Transformation: Text as Image in the Art of Xu Bing a multidisciplinary study of Xu Bing’s landmark work Book from the Sky. In 2007, Professor Robert Harrist, Chair of Art History at Columbia University, New York, initiated a graduate seminar entitled “The Art of Xu Bing.”
In 1999, Xu Bing was the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship “genius grant” in recognition of his “capacity to contribute importantly to society, particularly in printmaking and calligraphy.” In 2003 Xu Bing was awarded the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize, and in 2004 he won the first Wales International Visual Art Prize, Artes Mundi. In 2007, the Southern Graphics Council awarded Xu Bing their lifetime achievement award in recognition of the fact that his, “use of text, language and books has impacted the dialogue of the print and art worlds in significant ways.”
Xu Bing maintains studios in Beijing, China and Brooklyn, New York.