Carl Cheng

Carl Cheng (b. 1942, San Francisco, CA) is one of the first Asian-American artists to establish themselves in Southern California in the post-war period. His expanded art objects—"nature machines," "specimen viewers," and "art tools"—were made under the auspices of his corporate DBA John Doe Co., and are intended to “model nature, its processes and effects for a future environment that may be completely made by humans.” Cheng's interactive objects—many of which were made in his outdoor "nature laboratory"—use viewer participation and systems art to question corporate responsibility, individual freedom, and the effects on the natural environment of a growing mass-consumer material culture. Throughout five-plus decades of practice, Cheng has addressed environmental change, being a member of a generation who watched not only the rapid growth of Los Angeles but also the rapid growth of Asian cities, where he traveled extensively. 
Cheng's work is the subject of a major upcoming survey, curated by Alex Klein of the ICA Philadelphia, in partnership with Roland Wetzel and Stijn Huijts, that will open at the Institute of Contemporary Art (Philadelphia, PA) in fall 2024, and travel to Tingley Museum (Basel, Switzerland); Bonnefanten Museum (Maastricht, Netherlands); and other institutions TBD. Cheng's work was recently featured in such exhibitions as Potential Worlds 2: Eco-Fictions at Migros Museum of Contemporary Art (Zürich, Switzerland); 3D: Double Vision, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Los Angeles, CA); Specters of Disruption, de Young Museum (San Francisco, CA); and Emerald City, K11 Art Foundation (Hong Kong). Solo exhibitions include those at Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum (Santa Barbara, CA), LIST Visual Arts Center at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Boston, MA), and ASG Foundation Gallery (Nagoya, Japan). Museum group exhibitions include The Photographic Object 1970, Le Consortium (Dijon, France); Under the Big Black Sun: California Art 1974-1981, (Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA); Proof: Los Angeles Art and the Photography 1960- 1980, Laguna Art Museum (Laguna Beach, CA); Photography into Sculpture, Museum of Modern Art (New York, NY); Vision and Expression, George Eastman Museum (Rochester, NY); Oversharing, Friends Indeed Gallery (San Francisco, CA). Recent gallery projects include Friends Indeed (San Francisco, CA); Altman Siegel (San Francisco, CA); and Hauser and Wirth (New York, NY).