The Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland and The Cleveland Museum of Art Announce the First U.S. Solo Museum Exhibition of Chinese Artist Liu Wei

September 13, 2019

Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland: September 13, 2019–January 5, 2020

Cleveland Museum of Art: October 13, 2019–February 16, 2020


Cleveland, OHIO (September 13, 2019)—This fall, the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland and the Cleveland Museum of Art present Liu Wei: Invisible Cities, the first U.S. museum exhibition of acclaimed Chinese artist Liu Wei. Taking its title from Italian writer Italo Calvino’s novella of the same name, Invisible Cities will be presented across the two institutions and is developed in direct response to both spaces’ architecture. Organized by Courtenay Finn, moCa’s Chief Curator, and Emily Liebert, the CMA’s Curator of Contemporary Art, the exhibition includes a tightly curated constellation of works that employs abstraction and fragmentation to create new narratives.
Like Calvino’s book—an imagined set of conversations between traveler Marco Polo and the emperor of the thirteenth-century Mongol Empire, Kublai Khan—Liu examines how objects can function as physical traces and intangible links between the visible and invisible. From sculptures carved out of books, a series of cut-up and repurposed household appliances (a refrigerator, a washing machine, and an air conditioner), to architectural monuments made from rawhide dog chews, Liu asks us to examine the relationship between material and power. Part of a generation that grew up during a period of rapidly accelerating urbanization in China, Liu examines the city as both a dynamic and vital force, while questioning how the speed of this development impacts and shapes our encounters with the world. Vibrant geometric forms and lines run throughout the work, whether from the measured linear compositions of his paintings to the bare strips of light dissecting old television sets.
The largest exhibition of the artist’s work to date in the United States, moCa’s presentation will debut two new large-scale commissions that expand on the artist’s pivotal works Microworld (2018) and Devourment (2019), currently on view at the 58th Venice Biennale. These new sculptural installations will be presented alongside a diverse body of painting and sculpture, including works from the Anti-Matter (2006), Library (2015–18), and Look! Book (2014) series.
The CMA’s presentation centers on the monumental painting Panorama No. 2 (2015–16), a recent gift to the museum by Richard and Michelle Jeschelnig, alongside the artist’s acclaimed Love it! Bite it! sculptures (2014). Together, the collection of works in Invisible Cities echoes the cities Polo describes—fantastical, beguiling places where things are never as they seem—and emphasizes that the world we inhabit is infinitely larger than what we can see. Liu’s work is an evocative reminder that how we perceive and negotiate our relationship to place allows us to see the conditions of its very construction.
Liu Wei (b. 1972, Beijing) graduated from the National Academy of Fine Arts, Hangzhou, China, in 1996. Recent solo exhibitions include: Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul (2016); Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing (2015); Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Netherlands (2014); and Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai (2011). He has participated in several international biennials and notable group exhibitions, including May You Live in Interesting Times, the 58th Venice Biennale (2019); Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2017); What About the Art? Contemporary Art from China, Qatar Museum, Doha, Bentu: Chinese Artists at a Time of Turbulence and Transformation, Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris (both 2016); La vie Moderne, Lyon Biennial, 28 Chinese, Asian Art Museum, San Francisco (both 2015); Re:emerge: Towards a New Cultural Cartography, Sharjah Biennial (2013); Fourth Guangzhou Triennial, China (2012); Rehearsal, Shanghai Biennial (2010); Expenditure, Busan Biennial, South Korea (2008); and the 51st Venice Biennale (2005).

About moCa Cleveland

For fifty years, the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (moCa) has played a vital role in the city’s cultural landscape. A kunsthalle in the Midwest, moCa is a conduit and catalyst for creativity and inspiration, offering exhibitions and programs that provide public value and make meaning of the art and ideas of our time.
Since its founding in 1968, moCa has presented the works of more than three thousand artists, often through artists’ first solo shows. moCa was the first in the region to exhibit the works of many vanguard artists, including Laurie Anderson, Christo, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, and Andy Warhol. Recent artist commissions include new work by Sondra Perry, Aleksandra Domanović, Tauba Auerbach, Simon Denny, Adam Pendleton, Lisa Oppenheim, Sara VanDerBeek, and Michelle Grabner.
In 2012, moCa relocated to Cleveland’s University Circle district, which boasts one of the country’s highest concentrations of cultural, educational, and medical institutions. Designed by Londonbased architect Farshid Moussavi, moCa’s new permanent home—a faceted building of mirrorfinish black stainless steel—is now an iconic landmark of the city. Jill Snyder has been moCa’s Executive Director since 1996.
For more information, visit

About the Cleveland Museum of Art

The Cleveland Museum of Art is renowned for the quality and breadth of its collection, which includes more than 61,000 objects and spans 6,000 years of achievement in the arts. The museum is a significant international forum for exhibitions, scholarship and performing arts. One of the top comprehensive art museums in the nation and free of charge to all, the Cleveland Museum of Art is located in the dynamic University Circle neighborhood. For more information about the museum and its holdings, programs and events, call 888-CMA-0033 or visit


Presenting sponsor of Liu Wei: Invisible Cities: Richard & Michelle Jeschelnig
Major support for moCa Cleveland’s Liu Wei’s exhibition provided by DLR Group | Westlake Reed Leskosky, Lehmann Maupin, New York, Hong Kong, and Seoul, Long March Space, Beijing, and
Pacific Century Place, Beijing.
Generous support for the moCa Cleveland exhibition is also provided by Beijing Contemporary Art
Foundation, East West Bank, and White Cube.
All current moCa Cleveland exhibitions are funded by Leadership Circle gifts from anonymous donors, Yuval Brisker, Joanne Cohen & Morris Wheeler, Margaret Cohen & Kevin Rahilly, Becky
Dunn, Harriet Goldberg, Agnes Gund, Richard & Michelle Jeschelnig, Kohl Family, Jan Lewis, Toby Devan Lewis, Roy Minoff, and Kelly & Scott Mueller. 
All moCa Cleveland and Cleveland Museum of Art exhibitions are supported in part by the residents of Cuyahoga County through a grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, the George Gund
Foundation, the Ohio Arts Council, and the continuing support of the museums’ Boards of Directors, patrons and members.

Media Contacts

Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (moCa)
Arthur Henke, Communication Manager | 216.658.6936
The Cleveland Museum of Art
Kelley Notaro Schreiber, Communications