Laurens Tan

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Laurens Tan (born 1950) is a multidisciplinary Australian artist. His work includes sculpture, 3D animation, video, and graphics, and is influenced by architectural and industrial design. He lives and works in Sydney, Beijing, and Las Vegas..[1]

His work is informed by Chinese heritage, language and meaning. Since his early Beijing series of work, he utilizes the form of the sanlunche (Chinese tricycle) to convey the complexity of change in China under economic and cultural transformation.[2] He has shown artwork at the Boston Institute of Contemporary Art, Houston Museum of Art, National Galleries of New South Wales, and the Sydney Powerhouse Museum.[3]

He was co-curator for the show Always on My Mind: Home at the Seoul National University Museum of Art (2011)[4]. Recently, his work was acquired by the Marjorie Barrick Museum in Las Vegas (2018)[5] and Deakin University in Melbourne (2018)[6]

Education and career[edit]

Tan completed his Doctor of Creative Arts (DCA) thesis "The Architecture of Risk" at University of Technology Sydney, following his academic career as cultural studies educator at the School of Creative Arts at the University of Wollongong (1987-1991). He is currently an Adjunct Professor at Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts (2006-) and La Trobe University (2011-) and has taught at other undergraduate and graduate arts programs in the United States, Australia, and China.[7]

Tan served as a Board member in the Asian Australian Art Association in Sydney from 1997 to 2007[8] and as Artist Advisory Group Member at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney from 2004 to 2006.[3]


Tan's earlier works from 1990-1999 include Re-sited References (Retrospective) at the Queensland University Art Museum (1990), Adapt Enforce V at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (1992), Games & Voices at Macquarie Galleries (1992), Gallery 14 Contemporary Artists Series at the Queensland Art Gallery (1993), Profile of a Counter at Banff Centre in Alberta, Canada (1998), IndyCar Slot at Gold Coast Arts Centre (1998), and Octomat at World Gaming Expo & Congress in Las Vegas.[3] He was also part of the international touring exhibition “Elvis + Marilyn: 2 x Immortal” that was shown in the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston and eleven other American museums (1995).[9]

As a Las Vegas resident, his art is often inspired by the unique visual culture of the city.[10] His work in the United States includes Babalogic in the Desert at the Sahara West Library in Las Vegas, shown from 2017-2018.[11]

In 2008, he was commissioned to create "Babalogic" for the survey exhibition 2D/3D Negotiating Visual Languages, curated by Wu Hung at the PKM Gallery in Beijing.[12] He was included in two following exhibitions in Beijing curated by Dong Bingfeng: Asian Landmark at the Iberia Center of Contemporary Art (2010)[13], and “Fat Art 2” at the Today Art Museum (2010)[14]. Other key Beijing exhibitions include ShiWaiTaoYuan, a public art commission at The Opposite House in Beijing (2012). This work continues his synthesis of heritage in contemporary  as well as Tan’s signature tricycles, alluding to the rapid modernization in contemporary Chinese culture.[15]

Tan’s work has been curated at various contemporary museums and galleries Asia, such as the Kuandu University Art Museum, Taipei Taiwan (2011).[16], PKM Gallery in Beijing (2008)[12], Shizuoka Prefectural Art Museum in Japan, and Seoul National University Museum of Art[4] and Gana Galleries in Seoul[7]

Tan was commissioned by the City of Sydney to build three giant “See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil” monkeys at the Sydney Opera House in celebration of the Lunar New Year. This particular work was in installation from 2016 to 2018.[17] His other recent commissions in Australia include his piece Speed/Sudu for the Murray Art Museum Albury (MAMA) in 2016.[18]

In 2014, he was commissioned by the University of Chicago to create Empire Bookends: Basketcase, a solo exhibition in the university's Beijing Center.[19]

In 2016, he was commissioned to create Depth of Ease CNY, a solo exhibit of three separate works, for Zappos Downtown in Las Vegas.[20]

In 2017, he was named Visiting Artist at the Neon Museum Las Vegas.[21]


  1. ^ "Laurens Tan: "Art as a Vehicle for Thinking" – The Art Life". Retrieved 2018-08-10.
  2. ^ "Snakey Style – The Art Life". Retrieved 2018-08-10.
  3. ^ a b c "Laurens Tan bio — Tally Beck Contemporary". Retrieved 2018-08-10.
  4. ^ a b "SPACE Magazine". Retrieved 2018-08-28.
  5. ^ "Announcing Spring 2018 Exhibitions | Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art | University of Nevada, Las Vegas". Retrieved 2018-08-28.
  6. ^ "Deakin University Sculpture Walk, Burwood". izi.TRAVEL. Retrieved 2018-08-28.
  7. ^ a b "Laurens Tan – Art Atrium". Retrieved 2018-08-28.
  8. ^ "Alumni - 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art". 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Retrieved 2018-08-28.
  9. ^ "Elvis + Marilyn: 2 X Immortal | Contemporary Arts Museum Houston". Retrieved 2018-08-11.
  10. ^ "See Artist Laurens Tan's 3D Artwork Before It's Gone — DTLV". DTLV. 2016-03-14. Retrieved 2018-08-28.
  11. ^ "Babalogic in the Desert". Retrieved 2018-08-28.
  12. ^ a b "2D and 3D - August 1 - September 28, 2008 - PKM Gallery". Retrieved 2018-08-28.
  13. ^ ARTLINKART. "Asian Landmark - Toyota Art Project | exhibition | ARTLINKART | Chinese contemporary art database". Retrieved 2018-08-28.
  14. ^ "Macaroni Kid". Retrieved 2018-08-28.
  15. ^ "The Opposite House, Beijing hosts China Toy Stories by Laurens Tan - FAD Magazine". FAD Magazine. 2010-11-13. Retrieved 2018-08-28.
  16. ^, Design by 中壹資訊. "My Australia - Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts". Retrieved 2018-08-28.
  17. ^ "Lunar Lantern: The Monkey | What's On - City of Sydney". What's On - City of Sydney. Retrieved 2018-08-10.
  18. ^ "SPEED: The Fast and The Curious". Retrieved 2018-08-10.
  19. ^ "Opening Reception for Empire Bookends: Basketcase, A New Exhibition of Works by Laurens Tan | Center in Beijing | The University of Chicago". Retrieved 2018-08-10.
  20. ^ "Zappos And Art In Las Vegas". Nevada Public Radio. Retrieved 2018-08-10.
  21. ^ "Winners and Finalists". Retrieved 2018-08-28.