Born in Chongqing, China, in 1955, Xu Bing graduated from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing (CAFA) in 1981 and became a teacher. He moved to the United States in 1990, and moved back to China in 2007. He currently lives and works in Beijing and New York. Xu Bing’s works have 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.; the British Museum, London; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, 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, among other international exhibitions.
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 2010, he was awarded the 2014 Department of State-Medal of Arts for his efforts to promote cultural understanding through his artworks.