ShanZuo is born in Naning, Guanxi Province, China.
ShanZuo travels extensively with his father, a poet-scholar, visiting all the natural wonders of China
ShanZou begins studying poetry and Chinese history. He completes his first painting, I love my family.
DaHuang is born in Wuming, Guanxi Province. As a result of a political movement, their father is forced to leave his family and abandon his position as headmaster of a college.
With their father in exile, the young boys are cared for by their mother and grandmother in Ning Ming. Their grandmother, founder of a girls’ school and an accomplished painter and calligrapher, helps ShanZou begin school.
DaHuang moves to Wuming with his grandmother. ShanZuo feeling his brother’s absence completes the painting Together only in Dreams. In Wuming DaHuang studies music and painting under his grandmother. During this time he also begins training in the martial arts. Although apart, each brother develops a love for Chinese literature. DaHuang recites classical poetry, especially poems by Li Ching Zhao from the Sung Dynasty. ShanZuo’s essay My today and Tomorrow wins first place in a major literary competition.
The Brothers are reunited, along with their mother and sister, in Wuming. Together they explore each other’s artistic life and experiences. DaHuang practices Chinese calligraphy in the Liu Gong Guan style for two hours every day.
The six-year-old DaHuang performs his first instrumental recital in a spring concert. His musical and artistic talents bring him recognition as a child prodigy. ShanZou studies Eastern philosophy and history in middle school.
The family moves back to Ning Ming, Guanxi Province, and the home of some of the most renowned primitive cliff paintings in Fa Shan. The images leave a deep impression on the young boys, whose work in later years reflects these influences.
Experiencing Western art through the huge book collection of their grandmothers and their sister Daway who attends art school. The brothers cover the walls of their home with murals.
Paralyzed by the Cultural Revolution, every conventional organization, school and business comes to a halt. Red is the only color allowed to be used, seen or shown. During this time known as The Red Period the brother’s most remembered work is titled Red Nightmare. .
Turmoil of the revolution leaves a deep scar. The family suffers physically and emotionally. The young ShanZou explores the country alone on foot, visiting Beijing and many areas of China for the first time. The whole family is exiled to the Da Ming Shan mountain range, where they are forced to learn and adapt to farm life. ShanZuo produces many sketches during recuperation from a fall.
DaHuang experiments with different paint mixtures to create special colors as used later in Eternal Memory and Years.
DaHuang makes the state ping pong youth cadre and moves back to Wumin where he lives in a boarding school and receives professional training. The same year the grandmother dies and leaves the brothers with a mantra: To become an artist one must possess the highest spirit.
ShanZuo is chosen by the committee of the Cultural Exhibition Center to work on a monumental sculpture project to illustrate Chinese history in Naning and moves back and forth from the country and the city. DaHuang still in school receives honors in painting and is asked to teach a painting class.
The Brothers reunite at their grandmother’s house and execute their first collaboration, a painting that they entitle The Wave and for the first time sign it as Zhou Brothers.
ShanZuo is hired as a development director for a cavern excavation project in Yi Ling close to Naning. He heads a team of artists, writers and architects to plan and develop the area into a tourist destination.
DaHuang graduates from high school and is sent to the country for his reeducation period (minimum two years). During this time he paints every day after work with an oil lantern creating many sketches, portraits and studies. ShanZuo works as an art director for a theater and film production company. His productions include “Carmen” and the movie “Lau’s Third Sister”. He becomes a member of China’s Directors’ and Actors’ Guild.
After 10 long years the Cultural Revolution ends. DaHuang starts to work for the National College of Guanxi as an art director designing museum exhibits. ShanZuo works for a musical group creating a large number of stage designs for movies and musicals. The brothers return to the Fa Shan Mountains and work on four large scroll paintings including the Song of Life and The Cradle of Life. They direct their attention towards the origins of Chinese art and culture and manage to evoke the time and spirit of the beginning of their civilization in this important series that influences their work for many years to come.
Touring with an art group, the brothers begin an in-depth study of folk art in different parts of the country. They write a series of articles entitled “A Study of Folk Art” that is published in several newspapers and art magazines. They are searching for a unique language in the arts that is rooted in the tradition but is still relevant in their time. They conclude that in art feeling is the key to liberty.
The brothers are accepted by the renowned Shanghai Drama Institute, studying Western painting and modern art. The father is released from prison and is cleared from all accusations. DaHuang meets the father for the first time.
Traveling along the Yellow River and the Silk Road the brothers see many cultural treasures and examine this cultural heritage with the eyes of contemporary artists. They collect their thoughts in the book The Spirit of Primitive Art. Critics later describe the lines of their paintings as the “moving lines of emotions”
They finish a large series of paintings entitled From Heaven to Earth with which they start to define their own personal language in painting. A part of the series is now in the collection of the National Museum of Art.
The painting Robe with a Hundred Bird Feathers is awarded the Creation Prize in the National Painting Exhibition. They complete two more paintings entitled Death Bears New Life and Hints of Dawn in the Dark Night.
They exhibit in China’s National College of Art and Crafts, Beijing, for the first time. Their paintings appear in various art magazines. Critics acclaim their work as a “landmark to the creative impulses of contemporary Chinese culture.”
They attend the National College of Arts and Crafts to study mural and fresco painting. They become acquainted with many contemporary artists and scholars in China. They travel extensively around the country in further pursuit of their studies of Chinese primitive art.
Finishing their largest indoor mural, Light of Wisdom, they hold a large-scale exhibition at the Guanxi Art Museum. The French Government invites them to participate in an art exchange program. They join the Chinese Artist Association and attempt to establish the Fa Shan Art Museum. They complete their studies with a masters degree.
They are awarded an unprecedented traveling museum exhibition throughout China including the National Museum of Art, Beijing, the Museum of Art, Nanjing, the Shanghai Museum of Art, the Guiling Art Museum and the Guanxi Art Museum in Naning. Additionally their works are shown in the Hong Kong Exhibition Center and Museum of Art in Tokyo, Japan. Their work attracts worldwide attention and in post Cultural Revolution China they are hailed as the “third wave of the Chinese renaissance.” They receive the prestigious national prize for the Avant Garde and are celebrated as national heroes. Museums and art galleries in China and abroad collect their works. The United Nations Peace Keeping Force awards the Golden Shield the painting Death Bears New Life. A book of their work is published titled Zhou Brothers – A Collection of Paintings.
Critics hail their art as “the most intuitive and sensitive combination of Eastern and Western values and spirit to date.” The brothers organize an international Art Exchange Center and begin to exhibit internationally in Italy, West Germany, Greece, and Japan. They arrive in the United States in November for their first exhibition at East West Contemporary Art Gallery in Chicago.
After several successful exhibitions in the United States, the brothers are interviewed on local and national radio and television programs including the “Voice of America” and their works are published in newspapers and art magazines. Their painting Man and Nature wins first prize at the Smith Art Museum exhibition in Springfield, Massachusetts. They also create the first large scale painting Dream of Chicago that is reminiscent in size of their earlier murals.
They exhibit a fifteen piece series entitled Spirit of the Earth at the Chicago Cultural Center. They exhibit at the C. G. Jung Institute, Evanston, Illinois, where they also lead a workshop titled Primitive symbolism and the Modern Art World. To illustrate the collaborative work of the brothers director Mark Tang produces a documentary video with the title Two Artists – One Vision. The brothers purchase their first studio building in Chicago in the Bridgeport neighborhood. One of the first paintings created in the new studio is Life Symphony.
Their father passes away in China. Feingarten Galleries, Los Angeles, California, presents the work of the brothers at the Armory Art Show in New York City and in a large one-person exhibition at their gallery in Los Angeles where they show paintings as well as sculptures. Feingarten Galleries co-publishes the first catalogue in the West with East West Contemporary Art Gallery “Zhou Brothers: A Retrospective.” In China their sister Daway publishes a 535 page book The Narrow Door: The Biography of the Zhou Brothers. The Zhou Brothers have the first exhibition in Taiwan at Hsiung Shih Gallery.
Life Symphony is exhibited at the first Art Tokyo. The Brothers purchase their present studio on Morgan Street and call it “paradise.” Another large work is created there that they consider most representative of their style called Life Temptation. The first trip across Europe takes them to France, Germany, England and Spain.
Their Brothers focus on sculpture and start a commissioned painting for the Hong Kong Central Plaza Building Eternity which will measure 26 x 19 feet once completed. They start the Zhou Brothers Art Foundation. The Brothers accept an invitation from the Ministry of Culture and return to China for the first time since their move to America for an official visit to lecture at the National Fine Art Academy. They also have an exhibition at Connaught Brown Gallery in London.
Their mother passes away and the brothers return to their hometown Wuming. The Guanxi Television produces a special report on their mother and dignitaries from the town and province attend the funeral. Eternity is finished and shipped to Hong Kong. The brothers install their first show at the Nahan Gallery in New York and the exhibition sells out in the first week.
During an exhibition at the Mandarin Fine Art Gallery in Hong Kong the Brothers reveal that the commission Eternity at the Central Plaza Building has been removed and this causes a big controversy in the media. The Brothers have one of their most productive work periods in preparation of the traveling museum show for Germany and Hungary. East West Publishing produces the catalogue “The Zhou Brothers” with the first full scale monograph written by Gerald Nordland that is published in the West.
The Chicago International Art Exhibition commissions the Zhou Brothers to create an installation celebrating their 15th anniversary. They create Wind Wisdom, an installation that covers 36,000 square feet at the end of Chicago’s Navy Pier. The traveling exhibition including 180 works opens at the Kunsthalle in Darmstadt. The outdoor sculpture Dancing Wall is completed during a painting performance following the opening of the exhibition. The catalogue “Zhou Brothers – Chinesische Symbiose, Vier Hände, Zwei Brüder, Ein Gemälde” is published by the Kunstahlle Darmstadt and “Zhou Brothers – Woodcuts 1990-1994” is published by Galerie Wolfhard Viertel.
The exhibition travels to the Stadtmuseum in Salzgitter Germany and the Ludwig Museum in Budapest. They show a series of woodcuts at the Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College in Chicago. The Brothers receive an invitation from the city of Rotenburg, Germany, to create a sculpture for the city square concurrent with an exhibition at the Kunstverein Rotenburg. They give their first painting performance at the opening of the exhibition at the Portland Art Museum in Oregon. In the winter they create 30 large wood sculptures in their studio in Rotenburg, Germany, which becomes the most productive time for their sculptural work. The year is also one of the busiest traveling years and the brothers visit Paris, Berlin, Hamburg, Madrid, Beijing, New York, Switzerland and gather many inspiring cultural experiences. Oxford University Press publishes “Zhou Brothers in the Studio,” a photo essay by photographer Steven E. Gross. The brothers receive the ‘Best Artist Award’ from the Kunsthalle in Darmstadt, Germany.
The Zhou Brothers have a solo exhibition at Art Frankfurt and Art Cologne presented by Galerie Wolfhard Viertel. Exhibition at the DeSaisset Art Museum and Art Chicago. The brothers receive the Haitland Foundation Award combined with a large exhibition at the Gothic Hall at the Castle of Celle. They accept an invitation to teach at the International Academy of Art and Design in Hamburg for a guest professorship. They create a series of sculptures entitled Time Square and finish the cortan steel sculpture for the Francis Parker School in Chicago. They participate in the exhibition “Art in Chicago 1945-95” at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and publish the catalogue “Zhou Brothers: Sculpture.”
They receive an invitation from the governor of Guanxi and present the concept of a 180-foot monument “Nan Jin Man.” They cast 12 life size bronze sculptures at the National Academy of Fine Art in Beijing. The Museum Beelden an Zee in the Netherlands purchases Ballet Dancer. They lecture at the School of Design at Putnam House in Dorset, England and create a body of sculptures including their most representative wood sculpture Solid Romance. In Chicago they design and build a sculpture garden close by their studio and install 8 of the bronzes that were cast in Beijing.
The Brothers create eight large sculptures in Berlin. Solo sculpture exhibition at Art Cologne presented by Galerie Wolfhard Viertel . Sculpture exhibition at the Krassel Art Center in St. Joseph, Michigan. The brothers accept an invitation for a guest professorship at the International Sommerakademie in Salzburg, Austria, and promote their philosophy and style under the guideline “Feeling is Liberty”. They create the painting Life as Musicduring the now famous performance at the Academy. The sculpture Balance is purchased by the Paul Klee Museum in Bern, Switzerland.
The Brothers work mostly on architectural concepts and perfect the plans for the monument Nan Jin Man. They view architecture as sculpture and work on proposals for Paris, The Golden Ring, and Chicago, The Wind Tower, none of which are realized.
The Zhou Brothers are invited to perform at the opening reception of the Millennium World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. They create the painting New Beginnings and personally meet many of world leaders. They start a new series of paintings with the title Open my Door.
The catalogue “Open my Door” is published by the Sommerakademie in Salzburg where the brothers exhibit at the Galerie im Traklhaus. The Smart Museum in Chicago adds the sculpture Life Temptation to its collection. The series Open my Door is exhibited at the Villa Haiss das Museum für Zeitgenössische Kunst, Germany, where 8000 Zhou Brothers drawings are scattered from the sky during the opening reception. The Zhou Brothers Art Foundation finds a permanent home in a building the brothers purchased close to the studio.
The Brothers give a painting performance with red wine at the Galerie Rackey in Bad Honnef, Germany. A second performance is given at the Pacifica Institute in Santa Barbara, California. The Brothers attend a dinner for the President of China, Jiang Ze Min, during his visit to Chicago. The Brothers show two pieces at the first Guangzou Triannial and the Guangdong Art Museum purchases the painting Open my Door. The Ministry of Culture of Moscow, Russia, invites the Zhou Brothers to exhibit at the Central Exhibition Hall in Moscow.
The Zhou Brothers Art Foundation opens at 3302 S. Morgan Street in Chicago adjacent to the sculpture garden. The first exhibition of Zhou Brothers works at the Foundation has the widest time range of any previous show and the exhibition travels to Austria and Germany. The Zhou Bothers have an exhibition and painting performance at Drexel University in Philadelphia.
The Brothers purchase an 85,000-sq/ft warehouse building on 35th Street to establish the ZhouB International Institute of Art. They are honored with the Immigrant Achievement Award from the American Immigration Law Foundation in Washington DC. Production for the documentary film The Zhou Brothers starts in Chicago and traces their developments in China, America, and Europe. The retrospective “Zhou Brothers: 30 Years of Collaboration” opens at the Elmhurst Art Museum and the Chicago Cultural Center concurrently.
The Zhou Brothers are awarded the Golden Lion Award. They create a large monumental sculpture called The Ring of Life in Switzerland for the Swiss paraplegic center in Nottwill. The sculpture was exhibited in September 2005. The Brothers also create a series of outdoor sculptures in their studio in Paris. A sculpture park in Michigan is established by the Brothers and they receive the Lincoln Award from the Lincoln Academy.
They finish 12 steel sculptures in Michigan and transport them to their sculpture park. They also receive visits from a group of Chinese Contemporary poets, as well as some famous Chinese Contemporary 6th Generation directors. The Brothers begin preparation for the upcoming “The Zhou Brothers: 30 Years Retrospect Exhibition” in the National Art Museum of China and are interviewed by the New York World Journal. The Brothers also give a painting performance titled Life Temptation at the Chinese Film Festival at Columbia University in New York.
The director of the National Art Museum of China, Fan Di’an, visits the Zhou Brothers in Chicago from Beijing for the preparation of “The Zhou Brother 30 Years Retrospect Exhibition.” The Chinese Southern Weekly publishes “The Return of The Kings” (on the Zhou Brother’s upcoming exhibition). The Chinese Beijing Sanlian Publisher printed the book The Zhou Brother 30 Years Retrospect. Written by the writer Xu Xiao, the Chinese Writer’s Publisher printed the book The Zhou Brothers—The Legend of a pair of Chinese Artists Concurring the World. The International Summer Academy of Fine Art in Salzburg published the book The Zhou Brother–10 years in Salzburg. “The Zhou Brother 30 Years Retrospect Exhibition” was opened in Beijing. The National Art Museum of China collects the artwork The Quiet Romance from the Zhou Brothers. The opening dinner was held at the National Art Museum of China. CCTV 4 broadcasts both episodes of The Legend of the Zhou Brother. “The Zhou Brothers-10 years in Salzburg” was opened in Galerie im Traklhaus, Salzburg. The Zhou Brothers were invited to do painting performance at Zhongshan Hall in the Forbidden City in Beijing.
The Zhou Brothers were invited to do a painting performance in the United Nation Headquarters. “The Zhou Brothers Art Exhibition – A New Beginning” is opened at the Rock Ford Art Museum. The Zhou Brothers do a painting performance at the Coronado Theater. The famous rock musician Rick Nielsen accompanies the performance with his music. From September to November, the Zhou Brothers created a body of work in their studio in Paris. The work is transported to Galerie Nero, Wiesbadab and Villa Haiss, the Museum fuer Zeitgenossische Kunst in Germany.
The Brothers finish their last year of teaching in Salzburg in the continuous 12 years of teaching history. In total, the Brothers taught over 450 students from all over the world. They celebrate the five year anniversary of the Zhou B Art Center. The Zhou Brothers are invited to create a painting for the Northern Trust Headquarters in Chicago.
The Zhou Brothers go back to China to visit the grave of their mother. The sculptures Time Gateand Life are collected by the Beijing Zhong Kun Group. In December, the Zhou Brothers receive an invitation from President Barack Obama to create the painting Eight US Presidents and the Great Wall as an American National Gift to Chinese President Hu Jintao.
On January 18th, the Zhou Brothers visit the White House by the invitation of the President Barack Obama. The Zhou Brother meet both President Barack Obama and President Hu Jintao. Later in the evening, the White House TV station interviews the Zhou Brothers. They create a new series of work TIME: Portraits of History.
The Zhou Brothers are interviewed by China’s Phoenix TV Station’s program “Lu Yu You Yue”. They do a painting performance during the interview and title it Life Temptation. The piece is auctioned for 10 million RMB and the proceeds are donated to their hometown Gunagxi. The Brothers create the series of work Li – River of Souls during their visit in Li Jiang. Guangxi TV Station and CCTV produce the documentary The Zhou Brothers Documentary in China, New York and Chicago. The Zhou Brothers create a 50-feet monumental sculpture for China called The Sun Bird.