The Wry Photo Album Of a World Citizen
"Tseng Kwong Chi: Citizen of the World," at the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson, Ariz., features a series of tongue-in-cheek self-portraits Tseng titled "East Meets West." The Hong Kong-born Canadian artist traveled across the United States, Canada, Western Europe, Asia, and South America. Wearing sunglasses and a Mao suit (sometimes with pinned-on identity card), he took deadpan pictures of himself at such world monuments as the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Cinderella's castle at Disneyland, the Eiffel Tower, the Grand Canyon, and more. There are 40 photographs in the series, made from 1979 to '89, all large (three feet square) gelatin silver prints. Nearly half of the images are on display at the University of Arizona museum and archive through Nov. 16.
"His ironic, playful commentary on internationalism and the struggle for individuality in a world of powerful, contradicting cultural influences," says Center exhibition curator Trudy Wilner Stack, "offers an unparalleled experience in contemporary photographic art." Tseng, who died in 1990, spent his adult life in New York and Paris. The Center bought the series from his estate in 1994.