People mending cloth at a table in front of a wall covered in spools of thread

Lee Mingwei, The Mending Project, 2009–present. Mixed media interactive installation: tables, chairs, thread, fabric items, dimensions variable. Photo courtesy of Taipei Fine Arts Museum

Lee Mingwei: Rituals of Care

Inspired by personal experiences and world events, Lee Mingwei (b. 1964) creates interactive installations and performances. Asking how art can encourage social connection and healing in a time of so much trauma and loss, the exhibition features projects made between 1995 and 2024 that place the visitor at the center of radical acts of generosity and care. The Letter Writing Project (1998–present) invites visitors to sit and write a letter they have always meant to send but never did. Guernica in Sand (2006–present), a temporary reinterpretation of Picasso’s famous painting in sand that is then erased, meditates on the cyclical nature of creation and destruction. Transforming ordinary actions like writing, sweeping, mending, or breathing into rituals of care, Lee Mingwei’s works encourage us to find beauty and solace in the small acts that define everyday life.

Exhibition preview

In depth

Conceived in 1995 as part of Lee Mingwei’s graduate school application, 100 Days with Lily anticipated several themes of his practice since: the creation of interactive experiences that encourage social connection and care. Five photographs of the artist engaged in mundane activities with a planted lily are overlaid with 100 lines of text, 20 per photograph, describing how he incorporated the flower into his daily routine as a memorial for his maternal grandmother. 

In the news

  • Lee devises unexpected interactions between people that are meticulously planned yet remain delightfully open to chance.

    Jessica Zack, Alta
  • The pieces in ‘Rituals of Care’ remind us that art is always already about human relationships and connection.

    Max Blue, San Francisco Examiner

Performances + activations





This exhibition is organized by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. 

Major Support
The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts

Significant Support
Taiwan Academy of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Los Angeles

Generous Support
Bettina S. Bryant
Brook Hartzell and Tad Freese
National Endowment for the Arts

Additional Support is provided by the Contemporary Support Council, the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, Kaitlyn and Mike Krieger and My Lasting Letters.

Also on view