September 28, 2005
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.—Artist Wenda Gu will speak at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 20, in Pruyne Lecture Hall (115 Fayerweather) at Amherst College. This event is free and open to the public. A reception will follow in the main hall in Fayerweather.

Wenda Gu left China in 1987 and quickly became one of the leading contemporary Chinese artists of his generation. Gu is most famous for his work with unusual materials, including human hair and blood, and as the artist whose monumental installation was violently destroyed by a Russian artist at the infamous "Interpol" exhibit in Stockholm in 1996. Much of Gu's reputation is built on his role in reinvigorating ancient Chinese symbols and practices, imbuing seals, calligraphy and ink painting with contemporary vision and meaning.

Gu's most ambitious project, the United Nations series, consists of installations around the world where hair is used to create works of art emblematic of a future not ruled by racial or national boundaries. To mark the British relinquishment of Hong Kong to China, he created "United Nations: Hong Kong Monument: The Historical Clash," which consisted of a Chinese flag made of Chinese hair; a Union Jack made of British hair; and hair cuttings from Hong Kong scattered on the floor. These "United Nations" monuments have been installed in Australia, Canada, China, France, Great Britain, Holland, Hong Kong, Japan, Italy, Poland, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Taiwan and the United States.

For a complete listing of fine arts events taking place throughout the year, visit