A Statement on the Sudden Passing of Hung Liu

August 9, 2021

Hung Liu standing in front of her large-scale artwork of an Identification document with her biceps flexed.

We are deeply saddened by the news of artist Hung Liu’s sudden, premature passing and our thoughts go out to her family at this difficult time. A vibrant and vital part of the artist community in the Bay Area and beyond, Liu’s impact as an artist, and as a teacher is profound. A trailblazer among Asian American artists, the legacy and extensive oeuvre she leaves behind will continue to advocate on behalf of the people who have come to our country and helped build our nation.

As a collaborator, Liu was incredibly generous, and we are grateful for the time we had with her. Earlier this summer, we had the pleasure of celebrating the opening of her insightful installation at the de Young. In this tragic moment, we are honored to share Liu's indelible vision with the Bay Area community that she cared for so deeply. 

Remembrance from curator Janna Keegan:

Hung Liu was such a vibrant and vital part of the art world in the Bay Area and beyond. The news of her passing is shocking and truly heartbreaking. Hung Liu’s art practice focused on recovering the stories of people who have been often forgotten in traditional historical narratives. The legacy and wonderful oeuvre she leaves behind will ensure that she too will always be remembered.

It’s all too rare that we are given the opportunity to celebrate someone whose character is as extraordinary as their art; Hung Liu was in every way extraordinary. She was one of the very first people I met upon moving to the Bay Area. She reached out to a stranger, and offered me a hand, a heart, and a home in the art world here. But, the most exceptional part of my story is that it is not special or unique at all; it’s just who she was. Stories are already flooding in from her friends, colleagues, former students, and people who’d only met her once: she was a radiant and welcoming light to us all. The world is certainly a little less bright today.

My thoughts are with all those who were lucky enough to know her, especially her devoted husband Jeff Kelley and her son Ling Chen.


Learn more about the exhibition Hung Liu: Golden Gate (金門).


Image: Hung Liu at the opening of Hung Liu: Golden Gate (金門) at the de Young museum. Photograph by Drew Altizer.

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