Xu Bing was born in Chongqing, China, in 1955. He earned his B.A. degree from the printmaking department at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing (CAFA) in 1981, while earning his MFA in 1987. He moved to the United States in 1990. He moved back to China in 2007. From 2008 to 2014, Xu Bing served as the vice president of CAFA, where he is now a professor and the director of the Academic Committee. He currently lives and works in Beijing and New York.
Xu Bing’s work has been shown at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Washington, D.C.; Spencer Museum of Art, Lawrence, Kansas; the British Museum, London; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Spain; the Joan Miro Foundation, Spain; Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney; Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; National Gallery of Prague, Czech Republic; and Museum Ludwig, Cologne. Additionally, Xu Bing has participated in the 45th, 51st and 56th Venice Biennales, the Biennale of Sydney, and the Johannesburg Biennale amongst other international exhibitions.
Over the years, Xu Bing’s work has appeared in major Art History textbooks such as Art Past, Art Present by David Wilkins (Pearson Prentice Hall, 1997), and Gardner's Art through the Ages: A Global History by Fred S. Kleiner (Wadsworth Publishing).
In 1999, Xu Bing was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in recognition of his “capacity to contribute importantly to society, particularly in printmaking and calligraphy.” In 2003, he was conferred the 14th Fukuoka Asian Culture Award for his “contribution to the development of Asian culture.” In 2004, he won the first Artes Mundi Prize in Wales. In 2006, the Southern Graphics Council conferred on Xu Bing its lifetime achievement award in recognition of the fact that his “use of text, language and books has impacted the dialogue of the print and art worlds in significant ways.” In 2015, he was awarded the 2014 Department of State-Medal of Arts for his efforts to promote cultural understanding through his artworks. That April, he was appointed as an A.D. White Professor-at-large by Cornell University.