NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale will present an exhibition titled Walasse Ting: Parrot Jungle from Nov. 9 to March 12, 2024. The collection is aimed at reintroducing Western audiences to the extraordinary world of Chinese-American artist Walasse Ting, who was considered one of the most radical and independent figures of his time. Ting’s work bridged ancient Chinese aesthetics and the European avant-garde with the American Pop Art multiverse. Although Ting’s place in the art historical canon is recognized because of his artist’s book 1¢ Life (1964).
The Walasse Ting: Parrot Jungle exhibit is set to offer an immersive experience to viewers, with a chance to explore Ting’s neon-soaked visions of nubile women, flora, fauna, and an endless menagerie of cats, parrots, and hibiscus. Alongside this, the exhibit will provide a biographical narrative, giving viewers a glimpse into Ting’s diasporic life. Ting’s transnational identity meant that he could not benefit from the typical ambassadorship that countries engage in to display their creative wealth.
The Parrot Jungle exhibit will make South Florida Ting’s honorary home, given his love for the region. Ting and his family frequented South Florida to visit his in-laws, who were among the influx of Jewish residents who relocated to the area between the 1950s and ’70s. The exhibit aims to showcase how Ting’s signature motifs were inspired by these trips, where he discovered and fell in love with Miami’s wildlife park, Parrot Jungle, a landmark he documented in hundreds of photographs and countless artworks.
The exhibition has been curated by the NSU Art Museum’s Bryant Taylor Curator, Ariella Wolens. This exhibit is in dialogue with the museum’s CoBrA Collection, which happens to be the largest holding of artworks created by post-war movement affiliates known as CoBrA (an acronym for the founding artists’ native cities: Copenhagen – Brussels – Amsterdam) within the United States. The CoBrA artists were known for their values of freedom, spontaneity, collaboration, interdisciplinary practice, and ceaseless experimentation.
Accompanying the retrospective is a hardbound monograph, complete with full-color pages. The book is edited and includes an essay by Wolens. Skira is the book’s publisher, which contains an additional text by CoBrA artist Pierre Alechinsky, Bonnie Clearwater, Xiao (Amanda) Ju, and Ting’s daughter Mia Ting.
The exhibition and book were made possible through the generous support of several individuals and foundations, including an anonymous long-time supporter of NSU Art Museum, Joan and Stephen Marks, the Barron Family Foundation, Imperfect Family Foundation, Funding Arts Broward, Inc., the Sam Francis Foundation in honor of Francis’ 100th birthday, Caroline and David Stonehill, Judith Stonehill, Marlène Brody, Marion Lefebre and Robert S. Pynoos, Wenise Wong and Eric Barron.