Search for content, post, videos

Bruce Silverstein Gallery : Larry Silver : Picturing Yangzhou


Bruce Silverstein Gallery presents Larry Silver : Picturing Yangzhou, an exclusive online exhibition curated by Milly Cai, celebrating the Chinese Lunar New Year of forty-three photographs taken in 1996 in Yangzhou, Jiangsu Province, China. In accordance with Lunar New Year celebrations of cultural traditions and honoring ancestors, Silver’s photographs capture a rare, in-between moment in China during the 1990s socioeconomic change. Images of small-town life, of elder rural farmers and craftsmen carrying materials to make 竹夫人 (bamboo wives), are juxtaposed by Chinese youth in a Western wedding ceremony. These images document Yangzhou’s lived history, one of tradition, cultural appreciation, and heritage, while also creating a narrative of progress imbued with a sense of nostalgia. Cai, who grew up in the small, rural town of Mingshan, Sichuan Province (名山区) during this period, found Silver’s photographs to especially resonate with her, capturing the essence of the world as she remembers from family albums.

The city of Yangzhou, located in the Jiangsu Province in Eastern China, has a rich history of economic and cultural progress. Due to the proximity of the Yellow and Yangtze Rivers, Yangzhou was an important port for foreign trade and was a melting pot for diverse cultures. Since the Tang dynasty, this city has been known for blending Chinese and foreign cultures, especially in the arts. In the 1990s, many cities in China underwent socioeconomic transformations. This period was marked by a focus on urban tourism, driving the need for economically redressing dilapidated downtown areas. During this time, culture became a key element in balancing heritage preservation with urban development. For Yangzhou, a city of rich history and a landscape adorned with traditional gardens and canals, cultural preservation meant the renewal of traditional streets and the improvement of homes in historical blocks. Alongside these economic transformations, China heightened its participation in the Sister City program, developing relationships with smaller cities in the United States to foster friendship and understanding between the two nations.

In 1996, Mayor Shi of Yangzhou invited photographer Larry Silver and his wife Gloria to the city to document the progress of these economic and cultural initiatives. This creative journey resulted in a body of work that reveals the city and China’s deep connection with tradition. With photographs picturing multiple generations, from Chinese elders who have witnessed the Cultural Revolution of 1966, Millennial youth who likely participated in the protests of 1989, to the newborn Generation Z, Silver captured the lived history of a rural city spanning over a decade.


Larry Silver (b.1934) began photographing while attending the Manhattan High School of Industrial Art. After studying at the Art Center School in Los Angeles, he photographed extensively at Santa Monica Beach, resulting in a body of work titled “Muscle Beach” which was exhibited at the International Center of Photography in 1985. Larry Silver’s work is held by numerous institutions, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Brooklyn Museum of Art; the George Eastman House; the Jewish Museum; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Museum of the City of New York; and the Whitney Museum of American Art.


Larry Silver : Picturing Yangzhou
Online exhibition
February 8, 2024 – March 16, 2024
Bruce Silverstein Gallery
529 W 20th St, New York, NY 10011

Create an account or log in to read more and see all pictures.

Install WebApp on iPhone
Install WebApp on Android