Liu Ding’s Store: Take Home and Make Real the Priceless in Your Heart

July 14 – September 9, 2012

The Frye Art Museum is proud to present the first solo exhibition in the United States of work by one of China’s leading conceptual artists, Liu Ding.

Liu employs the economic model of a shop as a platform for discussion on the creation of value in the art world. Liu Ding’s Store was launched in the summer of 2008. Besides selling works online (, Liu Ding’s Store frequently makes appearances in an assortment of contexts and situations, from social and cultural events to art exhibitions. Through different approaches that include product pricing, promotion, marketing, and circulation, Liu seeks to investigate, understand, and discuss value—particularly the complex characteristics of value in art—as well as the rules, mechanisms, and politics behind the creation of value. At the same time, it is an art practice that expresses the artist’s political imagination.

At the Frye Art Museum Take Home and Make Real the Priceless in Your Heart showcases a specially commissioned “product line” from Liu Ding’s Store, unfinished paintings custom-made in a factory in a large quantity according to the artist’s orders. For the Frye, Liu has created a new series of unfinished paintings of various dimensions based on the Museum’s iconic painting Sin by Franz von Stuck.

The artist’s gesture of signing these paintings brings attention to the artworks’ potential to increase in value and provokes questions concerning the definition of art, authorship, the role of artists, and the relationships that fuel the production and circulation of artworks. In the business of acquiring works of art, Liu argues, what is being traded is something imperceptible—a possibility that the artist could become a “legend.” The buyer and the seller are tied by a common interest, and the made-to-order paintings are markers of this shared interest.

To date, Liu Ding’s Store has developed four product lines: “Take Home and Make Real the Priceless in Your Heart,” “The Utopian Future of Art, Our Reality,” “Conversations,” and “Friendship.” Recently, in “Conversations,” Liu has been experimenting with new forms of audience engagement, participation, and learning.

Born in 1976 in Changzhou, China, Liu Ding is both an artist and curator. In 2009 he was chosen to represent China at the 53rd Venice Biennale in a group exhibition titled See a World in Grain of Sand. Among the distinguished international institutions that have exhibited Liu’s work are Kunsthalle Wien, Austria; Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo, Brazil; Arnolfini, Britain; the Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, Germany; Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Italy; Seoul Museum of Art, Korea; and Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Norway. In China, Liu Ding has participated in exhibitions at Iberia Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing; Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou; and the Museum of Contemporary Art Shanghai.

In the summer of 2012 Liu Ding will participate in the launch of the Tate Modern’s new experimental program, The Tanks.

In 2011 Liu Ding and Carol Yinghua Lu co-curated Little Movements: Self-Practices in Contemporary Art at the OCT Contemporary Art Terminal in Shenzhen. Together, with Su Wei, they were invited to curate the 7th Shenzhen Sculpture Biennale, entitled Accidental Message: Art is Not a System, Not a World, which runs from May 12 to August 31, 2012.

Liu Ding’s Store: Take Home and Make Real the Priceless in Your Heart is organized by the Frye Art Museum and curated by Jo-Anne Birnie Danzker. The exhibition is funded by the Frye Foundation with the generous support of Frye Art Museum members and donors. The exhibition is also supported by a grant from the Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs. Seasonal support of the Frye Art Museum is provided by 4Culture, Canonicus Fund, and ArtsFund.

Image Credits:
Liu Ding. Liu Ding's Store, Take Home and Make Real the Priceless in Your Heart, 2012. Oil on canvas. Dimensions variable. Collection of the artist. Photo: Spike Mafford