Martin Wong’s Downtown Crossings


Martin Wong’s Downtown Crossings opens at the Asian Pacific American Institute at New York University Friday, March 6 and is on display through Dec. 18. Martin and I collaborated on a piece that I loaned to the exhibition.

Here’s exhibiton info:

The Asian/Pacific/American Institute at New York University is proud to present the exhibition “Art, Archives, and Activism: Martin Wong’s Downtown Crossings” from March 6-December 18, 2009. From the mid ’80s through the early ’90s, artist Martin Wong and other downtown New York artists were affected by an intersection of major historic events spanning the AIDS epidemic, urban renewal and attacks on graffiti in the city, to Tiananmen Square abroad. The exhibition explores artists who crossed paths during this particular time, influencing and inspiring discussions, art works, and activism.

Artists, writers, and friends of Wong who worked alongside him have loaned his paintings, personal remembrances, photographs, and selections of their own work for this exhibition. These friends and peers include Charlie Ahearn, John Ahearn, Tomie Arai, Jane Dickson, Chris “Daze” Ellis, Bing Lee, Miguel Piñero, Lady Pink, John “Crash” Matos, Lee Quiñones, Yasmin Ramirez, Sharp, Harley Spiller, Wicked Gary, Zhang Hongtu, PPOW Gallery, and his New York art dealer Barry Blinderman at Semaphore gallery.

“Art, Archives, and Activism” presents a story of a time and the interconnectedness of the artists with the world around them through artwork, letters, photographs, videos, postcards, posters, and flyers of participant artists. The exhibition traverses two decades, presenting an artist’s life and the issues that engulfed him, catalyzed from these connections and overlapping paths.

The opening reception is also the reception and book celebration for the Asian American Art Symposium 2009 at NYU presented by A/P/A Institute and co-sponsored by The Noguchi Museum; The Japan Foundation, New York; The Asia Society; NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development; and Museum of Chinese in America. For more information about the symposium please visit

Co-curated by Alexandra Chang, Tomie Arai and I-Ting Emily Chu.
Associate Curated by Mie Iwatsuki.
Archival consultation and support by Fales Library and Special Collections at NYU
Installation design by Jonathan Lo

Gallery hours: 10am-6pm Monday-Friday
FREE and open to the public.
For more information, visit:

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Published by admin, on March 5th, 2009 at 1:12 pm. Filled under: BONCHINCHE Tags: , , , , 1 Comment

Instigating a Manifesto

dscn19842Finally, a new horizon has been reached. Here I am at the tender age of 48, as the world’s oldest teenager attempting a back door entry into the modern age arena. Sometimes arriving late to the party one can feast on the good and settled music already playing and skip the bland opening act. But for the old school loyalists out there with notepad sketches and a pencil riding on their ear lobe brim, do not worry; I still keep one foot wedged in that old door with my day planner in hand. After all, coins and pay phones still do work in NYC, and I use them for sure.

I’m really excited about sharing my new work with the many varieties of people around the world, and on this coming April of 09′ in Genoa, Italy, that testament will come to rise. It will be my first solo show on the boot since 1979 when the first ever Graffito exhibition was launched in Europe with Fab Five Freddy and myself. As of late, my work has truly changed in my mind only a few hundred times and it will take on a whole different face from the previous state as it materializes into real matter.

Art based on the spray can has been a dynamic movement propelled by young people since the late 1960s that reaches a larger audience gauged by its own persistence. As artists, we are responsible for the advancement of this movement, just as we were responsible for its introduction. We must breach the tar pits of our outlaw status and use our social and resourceful skills to painfully advance an art movement that continues to gain respect in its own time and beyond. This is a call to arms for all Rapid Enamelists.

Ignore the Media
In talking about new work, I come to the forefront of a desolate social plain. These dunes of debate have been walked on before, but this discussion has been perpetuated by outside academics and media sensationalists that never quite breach the core of it all. A little known contradiction has been that — No! — a movement such as this should never be understood entirely. To misunderstand it is to keep regurgitating it for the sole purpose of making headlines. We are the catalyst to a manifesto of a modern movement. We must stop whining and carry our own weight. This manifesto may start with an argument and gain legs within an argument, but arguments aren’t strange to movements. Debates have been settled by artist by either moving forward with groundbreaking work or moving on to brawls on the bar room floor. Check your options and adoptions.
The movement within a movement has to be modeled after the courage by some to take on new challenges within them selves. Graffiti has to be taken out of its historical context in order for it to be debatable and understood enough to debate. No wish washy kid-speak here. Only groundbreaking, well-natured new work will move us forward. Solo shows, installations and thoughtful commentary are key to this advancement.

Turn the Page on the Good Old Days

To my fellow peers — some who are very talented — rid your selves of the nostalgic bug. Sure we can venture over to THE OLDEN DAYS as they say, and re-live those vital heroic years from our youth. After all, some of those days and nights were the most exciting and successful feats of our lives. But let that happen naturally from within our selves and for the appropriate reasons over a beer. Nostalgia should only surface when its disciples have the notion to reflect on a relevant cause or as a need to contrast a point and time and not because the world’s idea think tanks have dried up. If it were such, then we’d all still be pigment scratching the catacomb walls of Pompei. It should not dictate our future and present moment to the tilt, the Graffitists were a powerful and versatile collective back when and survived a gritty fiscally challenged city without any blue print handed to them. The just cause of what we literally fumed about 35 years ago has now gone on to influence a hundred thousand more from all corners of the globe, just like the Italian Futurists did at the turn of the 20th century. What we have to remember as a whole and as individuals is that a true movement will always be about evolution within its own revolution.

Embrace the New and Improved
I’m deeply excited by our new incoming President Obama and Vice President Biden. They both shine with honor and valor the way I always expected this country’s dignitaries to hold court. Rolled up sleeves will become the norm around these parts again and perps best chirp their dirt some where else, it’s time to flush the toilet Baby!

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Published by admin, on February 1st, 2009 at 10:08 pm. Filled under: HERESAY Tags: , , , , , 4 Comments