Another show I’d really recommend is the Tehching Hsieh show at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in the 798 District in Beijing.
The show, in my opinion, doesn’t catalog his strongest work — but it opens a portal to exploring more about him.
Basically, Hsieh was a performance artist who lived in New York in the 1970s and 1980s. He set out to do five year-long projects for himself, which he would document with photographs. For a year, he lived outdoors, without ever setting foot outside. For a year, he tied himself to another artist, Linda Montano. All that remains, in many cases, from the experiences, are the statements of purpose he made at the beginning of them.
At the Ullens — which is probably the largest and most international of all the contemporary art institutions in Beijing — they are showing the “Time Clock Piece,” in which Tshieh punched a time clock every hour from 9 to 5 every day for a year. This might seem easy, but imagine if every day, you were bound to the same place to complete what in essence is a meaningless task.
The installation is cool — the curator plastered the walls with the photographs Tshieh took of himself every time he punched the time clock. It sort of looks like a mental institution. I think the exhibition might be a traveling one, so there’s a chance you’ve seen it somewhere else.
In any case, even if you can’t get to China, check out Tshieh, who retired from making art in 2000.