Xu Bing was born in Chongqing, China in 1955 and raised in Beijing. He enrolled in the Printmaking Department of the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing in 1977, completed his studies in 1981, and later joined the faculty. He went on to earn a master's degree from the same institution in 1987. In recognition of his accomplishments, he was invited to the United States as an honorary artist in 1990. Xu Bing's career has been marked by a variety of notable achievements. In 2007, he returned to China and assumed several leadership roles at the Central Academy of Fine Arts, including Vice President, professor, and supervisor of doctoral students. Since 2014, he has served as the head of the institution's Academic Committee. Currently, he divides his time between Beijing and New York, where he lives and works.
Xu Bing's work has been displayed in numerous prestigious venues around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Sackler National Gallery in Washington, D.C. His work has also been exhibited at the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Museo Reina Sofia, as well as the Joan Miró Foundation. Additionally, he has participated in several international exhibitions, including the Venice Biennale, Sydney Biennale, São Paulo Biennale, and Johannesburg Biennale.
His works are included in major art history textbooks such as Art Past, Art Present (Boston: Abrahams Inc, 1997) and Gardner’s Art Through the Ages: A Global History (Wadsworth: Cengage Learning, 2013).
Xu Bing has been the recipient of several esteemed awards throughout his illustrious career. In 1999, he was granted the MacArthur Fellowship for his exceptional originality, creativity, personal direction, and significant contributions to society, particularly in the domains of printmaking and calligraphy. In 2003, he was honored with the 14th Fukuoka Asian Cultural Award in Japan for his noteworthy contribution to the advancement of Asian culture. In his acceptance speech, Okwui Enwezor lauded Xu Bing as an artist who transcends cultural boundaries, bridging the divide between East and West and expressing his thoughts and realities in a visual language. Additionally, he won the first Artes Mundi Prize in Wales in 2004, and the lifetime achievement award from the Southern Graphics Council in 2006. In 2010, Columbia University awarded him an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, while in 2015, he received the Andrew D. White Professor-at-Large from Cornell University and the Medal of Arts from the U.S. Department of State.