Liu Xiaodong was the one who moved away from his hometown, an industrial village, to go to Beijing and make it big. He did—he’s a star in world art. But 30 years after he left at 17, he went back to paint his childhood friends, who look lost in history, suspended on the other end of instant Chinese urbanization. The artist works directly from life to make his oil paintings, and even this far away, in an American museum of Asian art, they feel warm and close. (Seattle Asian Art Museum, 1400 E Prospect St,, 10 am–5 pm, $7 suggested, through June 29)