Huang Xiang and William Rock  

The Century Mountain Project

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After eleven years, Huang Xiang returned to visit China in April 2008


Huang Xiang is one of the greatest poets of 20th century China and a master calligrapher. 

Huang Xiang spent over twelve years in Chinese prisons and endured much suffering for writing his lyrical, free-spirited poetry and for his advocacy of human rights in China.  Huang Xiang returned to visit China for the first time in eleven years to visit family and friends in April 2008.  His inspiring story has been the subject of an award winning PBS documentary and his heroic pursuit for freedom and democracy in China has been documented in the book, 'Coming Alive; China After Mao'.  He has been described as a 'poet on fire' a human torch who burns as a lamp of freedom and enlightenment.  Huang Xiang's poetry and calligraphy is internationally recognized and he has performed for crowds numbering in the thousands. 

He feels that the art he creates with William Rock is, "a highly creative collaboration, something that hasn't been done before."  Fifteen of his books have been published in several languages.  Huang Xiang's mission today is to use art to build a bridge between East and West and to promote a universal humanity. After completing a residency with the City of Asylum/Pittsburgh, Huang Xiang and his wife, the writer, Zhang Ling, live in New York City. 


                                                                                             Huang Xiang

                                                            William Rock


William Rock is both a citizen of Ireland and the U.S.  He studied drawing at The California Art Institute and taught himself to paint and sculpt by travelling to museums around the world.  He has been immersed in Eastern thought and practice for fifteen years, studying and teaching with Tibetan and Chinese monks.  In 2006 his 'transcendent' paintings inspired a month long arts celebration held in Pittsburgh entitled 'Spirit Unfolding'.  William Rock's art has been displayed in museums in California and Pennsylvania and he has taught and spoken extensively on the nature of creativity, mysticism and art.  William Rock has been instrumental in producing several cultural events that promote and embrace art as a connective dialogue for humanity.  


To watch a short film by filmmaker Melissa Munro documenting Huang Xiang and William Rock's art :


 "China's movement for democracy has been carried forward in thousands of poems and one poet has emerged supreme; Huang Xiang of the Enlightenment Society."

                           - Roger Garside, "Coming Alive; China after Mao"


Huang Xiang performs his poetry, with Van Gogh painting, at Carnegie Mellon Universities College of Fine Arts fall 2006.




William Rock, Zhang Ling and Huang Xiang perform poetry at  the Mendelson Gallery for Rock's art opening in Pittsburgh, 2006.




Van Gogh painting on display at Carnegie Mellon University 2006




Huang Xiang and William Rock before their show at The Mellon Institute 2008



Partial list of colleges and universities where Huang Xiang has spoken and performed his poetry;

Harvard,  Stockholm University, Sweden , Columbia University,   Australian National University, Seton Hall University,   Monash University of Australia , Colgate University, The University of New South Wales of Australia , Farleigh Dickinson University,   Institue of Technology of Sydney, The College of New Jersey,   Tai Bei University of Taiwan ,University of Pittsburgh,   University of Venice, Italy , Carnegie Mellon University,   Massey University of New Zealand,  Indiana University of Pa.,   State University of NY at Stony Brook, Brown University,   Point Park University, Slippery Rock University,   The University of Oklahoma



Huang Xiang, with paintings, in front of his former home, featuring his poetry and calligraphy. 

The house is called  'The Poet's Dream Nest'  and is an artistic landmark adjacent to The Mattress Factory Museum in Pittsburgh.



                                 In Germany, Century Mountain's Shakespeare painting is used to promote
                                 The Bridge Project . A BAM New York /London's Old Vic Theatre 
                                 production at Ruhrfestspiele Recklinghausen A World Stage







Huang Xiang, Zhang Ling, from Paris human rights advocate and writer Lin Xiling, EuropGallery owner Christine Frechard-Harbison, Anne Y. Pu, William Rock and Daniel Yu pose for The Asian News.



"I see The Century Mountain Project as a fine reflection of the spirit of our age in which the achievements of the human spirit can be celebrated without national distinctions, and human rights are increasingly recognized as a matter of global not national concern."

- Roger Garside, author of "Coming Alive; China after Mao"



Huang Xiang performing poetry with Alexander The Great  painting EuropART Gallery courtyard 2007.



Huang Xiang and William Rock    EuropART Gallery 2007



..."These two artist's works come together wonderfully in (these) larger-than-life portraits."  

                     - Kurt Shaw, art critic, Tribune-Review                                 




Reporter Sean D. Hamill of The Chicago Tribune interviews Zhang Ling, Huang Xiang and William Rock





Huang Xiang and William Rock discuss paintings with Dr. Stanely Murashige of The Art Institute of Chicago


" Seeing the collaborative paintings of Huang Xiang and William Rock is like having a personal encounter with the subject depicted.  They have life. This Western style image with calligraphy is not what one usually sees. William Rock is aware of the negative space and Huang Xiang is using calligraphy to create as an artist would.  Formally, the artists are opening to accomodate each other.  Both artists work together as one.  Huang Xiang knows instinctively and intuitively how to place the calligraphy in relation to the image.  The calligraphy of Huang Xiang is special, modern and personal.  It is striking!  An East/West collaboration, the work is like that of Xu Bing.  The fact that Huang Xiang's calligraphy is making commentary about the image adds to the many layers of the work.  The paintings have a lot of energy."

Dr. Stanely Murashige

Specialist in Contemporary Chinese Art / Art Institute of Chicago




Huang Xiang, Zhang Ling and William Rock with students from Westminster College.




Huang Xiang with Albert Einstein on front page of International Asian News.


 Huang Xiang and William Rock at Slippery Rock University  2007


Huang Xiang and student dressed as Queen Elizabeth 1,  honor Shakespeare at Slippery Rock University




Huang Xiang and William Rock speak at Point Park University



Huang Xiang and paintings on front page of  Pittsburgh Tribune Review.



Huang Xiang, William Rock and The Century Mountain Project visit students in Cleveland 2008.





Huang Xiang, William Rock and neighborhood children with painting of Mother Teresa 

(painting is draped with a Tibetan prayer scarf which was a gift to Huang Xiang from the Tibetan poet Woeser)




 Huang Xiang works on image of Edgar Allan Poe




Huang Xiang and William Rock work on painting of Chinese poet Li Bai 



Special section about The Century Mountain Project in May 2007

Asian News

 "These paintings are different.  They are an East/West collaboration on a high level. One day all the world will know The Century Mountain Project."

-Anne Y. Pu  - editor and publisher The Erie Chinese Journal





On the day of Huang Xiang/ William Rock art opening, Michael Berger, William Rock, Huang Xiang and Zhang Ling stand in front  of Michael Berger Gallery July 21, 2007




        Asian News covers the opening




Singer/musician Ligaya with Elizabeth Barrett Browning 



Huang Xiang performs his poetry with his image and with Van Gogh.



Huang Xiang performs his poem  Elizabeth Barrett Browning  in front of her image.




Huang Xiang and American Buddhist nun Ani Drubgyudma with Gandhi.


"A sense of awe and inspiration arose from the depths as I contemplatively gazed upon these paintings.  The movement of Huang Xiang's Chinese calligraphy in tandem with William Rock's brush speaks poetic and artistic mastery through color, lines and form."

- Ani Drubgyudma



Huang Xiang / William Rock and Philip Pearlstein  works on display at Michael Berger Gallery

By Kurt Shaw
Thursday, August 2, 2007


At the Michael Berger Gallery in Point Breeze, the exhibit "mind/body/spirit" examines the collective state of consciousness through the work of several different artists.

For example, Huang Xiang and William Rock couldn't seem to be more different. Huang is considered one of twentieth century China’s greatest poets and calligraphers who spent more than 10 years in prison for refusing to submit to the Communist Party propaganda machine. Rock is a dual citizen of Ireland and the United States. Yet these two artists' works come together wonderfully in nine larger-than-life portraits on display.

Six of them take up an entire room in the back of the gallery, offering a place of contemplation on the lives of the persons depicted: Martin Luther King, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Mohandas Gandhi, Emily Dickinson, William Shakespeare and Isadora Duncan.

Each portrait was painted by Rock, but the calligraphic writing of Huang Xiang’s poetry is by Huang Xiang, with translated excerpts from each hanging next to the canvases.

For example, next to Elizabeth Barrett Browning's it reads: "Sadness, sadness ... sadness; Elizabeth, Elizabeth, Elizabeth; your love story is like; of nightfall the memory of a spider comes dripping ..."  Take the time to visit this most interesting work.

Another artist in the exhibition is Philip Pearlstein.  Pearlstein left Pittsburgh with a young Andy Warhol, sharing an eighth-floor walkup tenement apartment on St. Mark's Place in the summer of 1949.





 William Rock using images of Century Mountain paintings while teaching  the class 'Art and Spirituality' held at Carnegie Mellon University.



Huang Xiang and William Rock interviewed on 860am radio


William Rock and Huang Xiang speaking at Indiana Univ.


William Rock and Huang Xiang onstage with Century Mountain paintings at Mellon Institute 2008




Huang Xiang greeting crowd at EuropART gallery opening 2008



Asian News special section about Century Mountain opening at EuropART


Huang Xiang and William Rock outside The Mellon Institute before their show



Huang Xiang raises Martin Luther King painting skyward - before show at Mellon Institute.



On his return to China in 2008, Huang Xiang, met with friends , Professor Zhang Jiayan and the writer Yamo May.



William Rock and internationally renowned phycisist Dr. Robert Resnick.  Dr. Resnick is an authority concerning the life and work of Albert Einstein.  The painting was shown during Dr. Resnick's lecture about Einstein at Carnegie Mellon University, October, 2008.