Loading Events
  • This event has passed.
a woman with a microphone pointing to a collection of photographs in a gallery


Meet at the Information Desk in the Lobby

Hirshhorn curator Betsy Johnson will walk visitors through the exhibition A Window Suddenly Opens: Contemporary Photography in China, which brings together photography created by leading multigenerational Chinese artists since the early 1990s. The exhibition chronicles how, over three decades, these artists explored the potential of photography as a conceptual artform during an unprecedented cultural shift away from the priority of the collective to a revived focus on the self.

About the Exhibition

A Window Suddenly Opens: Contemporary Photography in China is the Hirshhorn’s first survey of recent photography by leading multigenerational Chinese artists. The exhibition showcases 186 artworks made between 1993 and 2022 of which 141 are included in a transformative promised gift to the Hirshhorn from pioneering collector of Chinese art Larry Warsh. The exhibition’s title is drawn from a 1997 publication, a near manifesto, by Rong Rong and Liu Zheng that celebrated a shift in the practice of photography in China away from realism toward a practice rooted in the exploration of ideas and self-expression. This shift developed in the wake of the tumultuous 1989 Tiananmen Square protests and Massacre. In a striking change from previous generations, artists largely untrained in photography picked up the camera during this period, dismissing previous political and academic constraints on the medium to explore its potential for cross-disciplinary artmaking. Beginning with the dissident performance art scene that thrived for a brief but significant period in Beijing’s East Village, this exhibition features twenty-five artists who have had a profound impact on the art of our time.

If you have questions or a request for access services or accommodations that can make your experience more inclusive, please contact hirshhornexperience@si.edu. 1-2 week’s advance notice is recommended but not required.


December 8, 2023
12:00 pm–1:00 pm
Event Categories:
Event Tags:


Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
Hirshhorn Museum, Independence Ave SW & 7th St SW
Washington, DC 20560 United States
+ Google Map
View Venue Website


Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
View Organizer Website