Pop Zhao is one of the most accomplished and controversial artists to emerge from China in recent years. An honor graduate from the prestigious Central Academy of Fine Art in Beijing, He has exhibited widely and collected many awards and scholarships during his career as an artist. For the past fifteen years, he has lived in San Francisco.
Since 1986, Zhao has extended his art to what he calls "Concept 21" multi-media theatrical performances, depicting the complexity and beauty of the human condition, which were viewed as controversial. He continued his trend setting with performances at the Great Wall and Ming Tombs in later years. In the United States, Zhao has exhibited at the San Bernardino County Museum, Triton Museum of Art, California Museum of Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, P.S.1 Museum and other galleries in the United States. His work has been purchased by collectors from Finland to Malaysia and can be seen in museums throughout the world.
Zhao's latest art form is called "earth-art" -- a large-scale format that involves thousands of participants and many miles of canvas. Themes are related to current events. His first such work took place on January 1st 2000, and involved 5,000 images of Chairman Mao's Red Book covering three miles of the Great Wall of China. This was the so-called "First Artwork of the New Century."
On June 23, 2001, Zhao's seven-mile long earth-art work "Olympic Dragon" was unfurled on the Great Wall of China in support of Beijing's bid for the 2008 Olympics. The work is noted in The Guinness Book of Records as the longest artwork in the world, and the China Postal Service and the Beijing 2008 Olympic Game Bid Committee issued a cover to commemorate the event. Juxtaposed with the "Olympic Dragon " was a 16-foot tall bronze dragon head sculpture, which is a permanent fixture at the Great Wall. A 40-foot tall duplicate of the sculpture will be located at a new Olympic Park in Beijing. The event had live coverage by national and international media. Zhao was also featured in the national media CCTV show, "Oriental Horizon," which is China's most-watched TV magazine program. "Olympic Dragon" has been called one of the ten most important events of the bid to bring the Olympics to China.
In the past he has performed 2 artwork memorials for 9/11 victims, It was covered internationally by CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, Japan TV, CCTV (China National),Span TV, Russian National TV and was listed in TIME magazine, making the front pages of many newspapers and headlining many TV and radio news broadcasts including NEW YORK POST, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS, S.F.CHRONICLE, S.J.MERCURY, EXAMINER...
Year 1 anniversary: 9/8/2002 San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge. Over 2,500 volunteers of American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter, Tzu Chi Foundation and many Chinese-American groups unfurled 5 miles of a special memorial banner symbolizing Life.
Year 2 anniversary: 9/7/2003 Statue of Liberty Island. Nearly 1,000 Volunteers from American Red Cross 9/11 recovery program, Office of NYC Council Member John C. Liu, Tzu Chi Foundation and many local Chinese-American Organizations covered the island with a memorial banner symbolizing Liberty.
In March of 2003, he was the launch of the new Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, by wrapping the 100 years old historical museum building in a specially-designed 25,000 square feet canvas which is the largest wrapping in the U.S.A.
Zhao is currently working on several new projects. Including "Paint Sky" at Sausalito Art Festival, 24 fifty foot tall trees will be wrapped with 24,000 square feet canvas. On September 12th, 2004, he will do "Celebrate: Life, Liberty and Beauty" part IIi project which is a memorial work dedicated to 9.11 victims and survivors in Washinton D.C. reflecting pool.