The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of March 3, 2024

Two Homeless Boys, Beijing

Two Homeless Boys, Beijing

(Chinese, b. 1969)
Paper: 45.7 x 45.7 cm (18 x 18 in.); Matted: 71.1 x 66 cm (28 x 26 in.)
Courtesy of the artist and Eli Klein Gallery © Liu Zheng
Location: not on view


This work is part of a group of photographs representing the rebirth of more independent photography in China. Here we see two homeless boys, both looking straight into the photographer’s lens; one appears desperate, the other looks expectant. Traditionally, the social status of Liu’s orphans would not make them worthy portrait subjects.

Liu started his career as a photojournalist for the Workers Daily in the 1990s, a time of rapid social change, burgeoning individual prosperity, and increasing openness to the West. In 1994 he began with his series The Chinese, to chronicle and portray contemporary Chinese society from all walks of life.
  • Artist; Michael Mattis and Judith Hochberg; Cleveland Museum of Art
  • Facing the Ancestors: Chinese Portraits and Figure Painting – Chinese Gallery Rotation 240a, 241c. The Cleveland Museum of Art (organizer) (August 12, 2019-February 2, 2020).
  • {{cite web|title=Two Homeless Boys, Beijing|url=false|author=Liu Zheng|year=1998|access-date=03 March 2024|publisher=Cleveland Museum of Art}}

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