Born in 1969 in New York, lives and works in Beijing.


Michael Cherney studied Chinese language and history at the State University of New York at Binghamton, followed by graduate language study at Beijing Language Institute. A self- taught photographer, Cherney’s formal studies, combined with his rigorous personal studies of China’s art historical past, have resulted in his abiding appreciation and even reverence for China’s rich history and painting tradition, particularly landscape painting. His relationship with China has been deepened by his residence in Beijing for well over three decades along with his extensive travel throughout China, seeking out the specific sites that have historical relevance to his work. He has described his art as a way “to look upon a place imbued with a vast (sometimes daunting) accumulation of history and cultural memory, and then to capture one instant, fleeting, tangible moment of it with a photograph.”


Cherney’s photography is an art of boundaries; of masking and enlarging the image. It is an art that challenges the viewing audience to imagine what hovers just beyond the immediately visible. His final presentation is a modern elaboration of traditional formatting: books or albums, hanging scrolls, handscrolls, large-scale screens, round and folding fan shapes. By this presentation, modern photography becomes a natural extension of premodern media, and Cherney’s art becomes a meditation on the long history of Chinese visual art.


Cherney’s works were the first photographic works collected by the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Department of Asian Art and are in the permanent collections of many other museums as well, including the Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive, Cleveland Museum of Art, Getty Research Institute, Harvard University Art Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Middlebury College Museum of Art, Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, Peabody Essex Museum, Portland Art Museum, Princeton University Art Museum, Saint Louis Art Museum, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Yale University Art Gallery, among others.



1991-1993 Beijing Language Institute, Beijing, China Chinese Language
1987-1991 State University of New York at Binghamton, Binghamton, 
  NY BA, East Asian History 




Calling in the Shade: Cranes in East Asian Cultures, Xinyang Port Art Center, Yancheng, China


The First Jinan International Biennale, Shandong Art Museum, Jinan, China


As Time Goes By: New Stories from the Garden,  Canglang Pavilion, Suzhou, China

  Flowing Waters Never Go Back to the Source: Photographers looking at the river in China, Jumi ges Abbey, Normandy, France
  Spotlight on a New Generation: Contemporary Chinese  ArtistsCleveland Museum of Art, USA
2019 IN INK: Current Trends of Ink Art, NanHai Gallery, Millbrae, CA, USA 
2017 - 2019 Streams and Mountains without End: Landscape 
  Traditions of China, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA
2018 The Heart-Mind Learns From the Eyes - The Art of 
  Michael Cherney, Three Shadows Art Center; +3 Gallery, Beijing, China
  From 2 Arises 3: The Collaborative Works of Arnold  Chang and Michael Cherney, Hong Kong University Museum and Art Gallery, Hong kong, China 

All Under Heaven: Landscapes of China by Arnold Chang and Michael Cherney, University of California at Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA, USA 

  Artists and Their Books / Books and Their Artists, Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Ink Worlds: Contemporary Chinese Painting from the Collection of Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang, Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University, Stanford, CA USA 


Beyond Ink, China Art Museum, Shanghai, China 


From The Canglang Pavilion, Suzhou Jinjihu Art Gallery, Suzhou, China

  Luminous Shadows, Ink Studio, Beijing, China
 2017 Pursuits in Ink: The Inaugural Wuhan Ink Biennale, The Inaugural Wuhan Ink Biennale, Wuhan, China 
  Luminous Shadows, Ink Studio, Beijing, China




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