RELATED MEDIA
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installation view: Monkeys Grasp for the Moon installation view: Monkeys Grasp for the Moon installation view: Monkeys Grasp for the Moon .1 (Indonesian): Monkeys Grasp for the Moon .2 (Russian): Monkeys Grasp for the Moon .3 (Braille): Monkeys Grasp for the Moon .4 (Italian): Monkeys Grasp for the Moon .5 (Hindi): Monkeys Grasp for the Moon .6 (Afrikaans): Monkeys Grasp for the Moon .7 (Chinese): Monkeys Grasp for the Moon .8 (Korean): Monkeys Grasp for the Moon .9 (Persian): Monkeys Grasp for the Moon .10 (Lao): Monkeys Grasp for the Moon .11 (Urdu): Monkeys Grasp for the Moon .12 (Thai): Monkeys Grasp for the Moon .13 (Turkish): Monkeys Grasp for the Moon .14 (Japanese): Monkeys Grasp for the Moon .15 (German): Monkeys Grasp for the Moon .16 (Spanish): Monkeys Grasp for the Moon .17 (French): Monkeys Grasp for the Moon .18 (English): Monkeys Grasp for the Moon .19 (Swahili): Monkeys Grasp for the Moon .20 (Hebrew): Monkeys Grasp for the Moon .21 (Arabic): Monkeys Grasp for the Moon

RELATED RECORDS
see also: 66960 see also: 67024 see also: 67025 see also: 67026 see also: 67027 see also: 67028 see also: 67029 see also: 67030 see also: 67031 see also: 67032 see also: 67033 see also: 67034 see also: 67035 see also: 67036 see also: 67037 see also: 67038 see also: 67039 see also: 67040 see also: 67041 see also: 67042 see also: 67043 see also: 67117 see also: 67118 see also: 67119 see also: 67120 see also: 67121 see also: 67122 see also: 67123 see also: 67124 see also: 67125 see also: 67126 see also: 67127 see also: 67128 see also: 67129 see also: 67130 see also: 67131 see also: 67132 see also: 67133 see also: 67134 see also: 67135 see also: 67136 see also: 67137 see also: 67138 see also: 67139 see also: 71271 see also: 71272 see also: 71273 see also: 71274 see also: 71275 see also: 71276 see also: 71277 see also: 71278 see also: 71279 see also: 71280 see also: 71281 see also: 71282 see also: 71283 see also: 71284 see also: 71285 see also: 71286 see also: 71287 see also: 71288

Monkeys Grasp for the Moon

Type
Sculpture
Maker(s)
Artist: Xu Bing (China, born 1955; active United States)
Manufacturer: Smithsonian Institution Office of Exhibitions Central
Historical period(s)
2001-2004
Medium
Lacquer on Baltic birch wood
Dimension(s)
H x W x D (overall assembled): 2591.1 x 78 x 4.1 cm (1020 1/8 x 30 11/16 x 1 5/8 in)
Geography
China
Credit Line
Purchase — funds provided by the family of Madame Chiang Kai-shek (Chiang Soong Mayling 1898-2003)
Collection
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
S2004.2.1-21
Label
Born in the People's Republic of China, Xu Bing grew up surrounded by books at Beijing University, where his father chaired the history department and his mother worked in the department of library sciences. During the Cultural Revolution, Xu produced revolutionary posters and a village newsletter while working on a communal farm. As a student at the Central Academy of Fine Arts, he employed innovative drawing and woodcut techniques along with his knowledge of artistic fonts and, later, became one of the Academy's youngest faculty members. With his early iconoclastic work, Book From the Sky (1987), Xu emerged as a major figure in the avant-garde (New Wave) art movement in China, as well as the object of harsh government criticism. In 1990, Xu emigrated to the United States where, finding himself in a new and unfamiliar place, he began to consider language and his fascination with words in the context of cultural interactions. Subsequent works, like Square Word Calligraphy Classroom (1996 and ongoing), confirmed his identity as an international artist.Based on a Chinese folktale of monkeys who try to reach for the moon, only to discover a vanishing reflection in the water, Monkeys Grasp for the Moon is an installation of word shapes, each one a representation of the word "monkey" rendered in twenty languages and writing systems, including English, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, and Braille. The words resemble monkeys, stretched at beginning and end to form long tails and arms that link together.
Provenance
Provenance information is currently unavailable
On View Location
Sackler: Pavilion staircase
Classification(s)
Sculpture
Keyword(s)
China, monkey, moon
Collection(s) Area
Chinese Art, Contemporary Art
Web Resource(s)
Google Cultural Institute

Rights Statement
Copyright with museum






We are excited to reopen the Freer in October 2017, following a renovation to allow us to better present our art and serve our visitors. The Sackler remains open, with a full lineup of exhibitions and events both in the museum and around DC. For your safety, all visitors will have their bags checked. See the complete list of restricted items and bag sizes.