Interview - Arnold Chang

Arnold Chang (張洪,號巨川, studio name Juchuan; b. 1954, New York City) is a Chinese American artist, connoisseur, art historian and educator. He was born to a Chinese father and a half Scottish, half Chinese mother, who were both born in China. His father came to study at Cornell University where he received an MS in Engineering; his mother came before the communists took over in 1949. Her mother (Arnold’s Scottish grandmother) joined her in 1953. Along with his two elder brothers, Arnold grew up with his Scottish grandmother and spoke only English at home; he didn’t learn Chinese until his college years. The parents opened an upscale Chinese restaurant called Shanghai East on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, and worked around the clock.

Arnold attended Bronx High School of Science when he began studying Chinese calligraphy with Wang Chi-yuan王濟遠. He attended University of Colorado in 1976, and University of California, Berkeley in 1978, receiving a BA in East Asian Studies and Chinese Language and a MA in Asian Studies, respectively. During this time, he studied under James Cahill高居翰, one of the greatest Chinese art historians of the time, who introduced Arnold to C.C. Wang王己千(or王季遷), who he studied under as an apprentice from then until C.C. Wang’s death in 2003. Arnold also spent one year in Taiwan studying abroad in college, where he studied under Guo Yanqiao郭燕嶠for a year. During this time, he met his wife of nearly five decades, who he married in 1976.

As an art connoisseur, Arnold worked at Sotheby’s from 1980 to 1994, during which he co-founded the department of Chinese Paintings, the first specialized department in a major auction house; eventually became a Vice President in NY and a Director of Sotheby’s Hong Kong, and continued as a consultant off and on. He joined Kaikodo懷古堂,a commercial gallery in New York specializing in Chinese and Japanese art from 1996 to 2006. As an art educator, he has taught Chinese painting practice and history at a number of institutions, including Columbia University, Arizona State University, and Connecticut College. As an art historian and scholar, he has also published his writings prolifically. As an artist, Arnold specializes in Chinese literati-style landscape paintings. His ink landscapes have been exhibited internationally, including in major exhibitions at the Guggenheim Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, the British Museum, and the MFA Boston. His work has been in the permanent collections of many museums and private collections. He collaborates with Michael Cherney, a Caucasian American photography artist who has lived in China for over three decades; and the duo has been exhibited worldwide.

Arnold’s Houston connection comes through his parents, who moved to Houston in 1973 and re-opened Shanghai East in the Galleria mall, Houston. In 1976, Arnold and his wife lived with his parents in Houston and worked in the restaurant for a short time prior to moving to Berkeley to attend graduate school. The couple frequently visited Houston until the parents passed away. His eldest brother still lives in Houston and is involved in commercial real estate. Arnold lives and works in Parsippany, New Jersey.

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