Wanxin Zhang

WANXIN ZHANG was born in Changchun, China, and spent his formative years in the 1970s under Mao's regime. After the Cultural Revolution in 1976, he was part of the first generation of Chinese students to receive a formal art education. In 1985 he graduated from the LuXun Academy of Fine Art with a degree in sculpture. In 1992, after Zhang established his art career as a sculptor in China, he emigrated to the United States to continue his development and to study at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. In 2006, Zhang received a Virginia A. Groot Foundation Grant and in 2004, he was awarded the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant.

Zhang's work has been featured in solo museum exhibitions at the University of Wyoming Art Museum (2006), the Fresno Art Museum in California (2007), the Alden B. Dow Museum of Science and Art in Michigan (2008), the Arizona State University Museum (2010), the Bellevue Arts Museum (2011), and the Peninsula Museum of Art (2015), and in 2019, Zhang’s work was the subject of a mid-career survey exhibition titled Wanxin Zhang: The Long Journey at the Museum of Craft and Design in San Francisco. The exhibition was accompanied by a monographic catalogue. In 2021, Zhang’s work was featured prominently in an exhibition titled This Present Moment: Crafting a Better World.

In 2023, Montalvo Arts Center acquired Color Face (2012-2013) for the museum’s permanent collection after featuring the work in the exhibition Claiming Space. In 2021, The Renwick Gallery at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the American Museum of Ceramic Arts acquired Zhang's Warrior with Colored Face for their permanent collection. Also in 2021, the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive acquired Zhang's sculpture Special Ambassador (2011) for its permanent collection. In 2020, the Cantor Arts Center acquired Rainbow Rock I for its permanent collection through the Asian American Arts Initiative.

In 2022, Zhang had a solo exhibition of new work titled Witness at Catharine Clark Gallery in San Francisco. Other major presentations of Zhang's works have included the 22nd UBC Sculpture Biennial in Japan (2007), the Taipei Ceramics Biennial in Taiwan (2008), the Da Tong City 2nd International Sculpture Biennial in China (2013), and the inaugural Anren Biennial in China (2017). In 2017, the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, acquired multiple "brick" works from Zhang's Wall series for the museum’s permanent collection as part of its commitment to expanding its collection of contemporary art. In 2020, the Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, acquired Teapot Without Handle (2016) for its permanent collection and it has since been exhibited there as part of a permanent collection show.

In 2024, Zhang’s work titled Waiting (2021) will be included in an exhibition at the Legion of Honor commemorating its centenary. The work was recently acquired for the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco through the Arneja Family Fund.

Zhang lives and works in San Francisco, California, and has been represented by Catharine Clark Gallery since 2013.