Walasse Ting: Parrot Jungle

November 10, 2023 through March 10, 2024

Walasse Ting Untitled, early 1980s Acrylic and Chinese ink on rice paper 70 x 38 in / 177.8 x 96.5 cm Private Collection, Hong Kong.

Walasse Ting: Parrot Jungle is a comprehensive exhibition made to re-introduce audiences to the extraordinary world of artist Walasse Ting (b. 1928, Wuxi, China; d.2010, New York NY). Ting was one of the most radical and independent figures of his time, bridging the worlds of ancient Chinese aesthetics, the European avant-garde and the American Pop Art multiverse. While Ting’s place within the art historic canon is recognized due to the artist’s book 1¢ Life (1964), NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale is the first American institution to go beyond this legacy and acknowledge Ting’s mastery within a monographic museum show.

This exhibition provides viewers the opportunity to immerse themselves in Ting’s neon-soaked visions of nubile women, flora, fauna, and an endless menagerie of cats, parrots and hibiscus. Simultaneously, the show establishes a biographic narrative of Ting’s diasporic life; one that led to the formation of a transnational identity that left the artist without the typical ambassadorship countries engage in to display their creative wealth.

Parrot Jungle makes South Florida Ting’s honorary home; one perfectly fitting given the artist’s love of the region. Ting and his family came to South Florida frequently to visit his in-laws, who were among the many Jewish residents who relocated here in the fifties and sixties. This exhibition will highlight how Ting’s signature motifs were inspired by these trips, where he discovered and fell in love with the wildlife park Parrot Jungle, a landmark he documented in hundreds of photographs and countless on-site drawings.

This exhibition is in dialogue with the Museum’s Cobra Collection, which includes essential works by Ting and is the largest holding of artworks created by affiliates of the post-war movement known as CoBrA (an acronym for the founding artists’ native cities: Copenhagen – Brussels – Amsterdam) within the United States. The Cobra artists stood for freedom, spontaneity, collaboration, interdisciplinary practice and ceaseless experimentation. These values resonated profoundly with Walasse Ting upon his arrival to Paris in 1953, leading him to establish lifelong friendships with key Cobra figures Pierre Alechinsky (b.1927, Brussels, Belgium; lives and works in Bougival, France), Karel Appel (b. 1921, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; d. 2006, Zurich, Switzerland) and Asger Jorn (b.1914, Jutland, Denmark; d. 1973, Aarhaus, Denmark).

In the spirit of Cobra and our Museum’s ethos, this exhibition champions Walasse Ting as a citizen of the world, one who made many places, including South Florida, his honorary home, and created a unique oeuvre that was passionately enriched by all he encountered.