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Martin Wong: Human Instamatic opens May 14

Martin Wong: Human Instamatic opens May 14

Wexner Center is first stop on national tour for this acclaimed exhibition
Wed, May 11, 2016

May 14–August 7, the Wexner Center for the Arts will present Martin Wong: Human Instamatic, a comprehensive survey collecting more than 80 paintings from every stage of his career—formally inventive canvases that are in turn lyrical, gritty, and lovingly observant of the world as he found it. The Wexner Center is the first stop on a national tour for this widely acclaimed exhibition.

Human Instamatic takes its name after a term Wong coined to describe his skill at painting street portraits. This survey also includes fascinating, rarely seen archival materials, many of them from the Martin Wong Papers at Fales Library, New York University. Incorporating elements from classic Chinese art and homages to 20th-century American urban painting, whose traditions his own work was extending, Wong’s dazzling achievement is forcefully honored by this exhibition, which Hyperallergic called “one of the best museum shows to open last year.” 

Martin Wong: Human Instamatic is organized by the Bronx Museum of the Arts, and curated by Antonio Sergio Bessa, director of curatorial and education programs, and Yasmin Ramírez, adjunct curator.

ABOUT MARTIN WONG
A West Coast native born in 1946, the Chinese American artist came of age during San Francisco’s countercultural movements of the late 1960s. It was with his move to New York City in 1978 that Wong emerged as a visionary poet of the urban landscape. With the pregentrified Lower East Side as his home base, Wong became a key participant-witness in the visual art scenes exploding throughout Manhattan during the 1980s. His varied, often haunting paintings of that period vividly capture the multiethnic communities that he called home: from the bold looks of Chinatown to the beleaguered brick facades of tenement buildings adorned with graffiti and commercial signage. Wong returned to San Francisco in 1994 when falling ill from AIDS-related complications, and he continued to produce works of unique and intimate observation there until his untimely death in 1999.

EXHIBITION-RELATED EVENTS
An exhibition preview will take place Friday, May 13. Exhibition curators Antonio Sergio Bessa and Yasmin Ramírez will discuss the conception and development of Human Instamatic in a curator’s talk at 5 pm. A reception follows at 6 pm. Admission is free for all. On Thursday, May 19, the Wexner Center will screen Short Eyes from director Robert M. Young. This powerful film was adapted from Miguel Piñero’s award-winning play. Piñero was a longtime friend of Wong. Walk-in tours, free with gallery admission, will be available throughout the run of the exhibition, beginning Saturday, May 23.

Low-resolution press image selection

These images are provided exclusively to the press and may only be used for promotional purposes directly related to the corresponding Wexner Center for the Arts event. For hi-res images or more information, please contact Erik Pepple at (614) 292-9840

1.
 Martin Wong, Tell My Troubles to the Eight Ball (Eureka), 1978–81
Martin Wong, Tell My Troubles to the Eight Ball (Eureka), 1978–81
Acrylic on canvas
48 x 48 in.
Collection of Daniel S. Berger, MD
2.
Martin Wong, El Caribe, 1988
Martin Wong, El Caribe, 1988
Martin Wong, El Caribe, 1988
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 40 in.
Collection of Francisco Hernandez
3.
Martin Wong: Human Instamatic
Martin Wong: Human Instamatic
4.
Martin Wong, Starry Night, 1982
Martin Wong, Starry Night, 1982

Oil on canvas
22 x 30 in.
Collection of the Bronx Museum of the Arts, Gift of Suzy and Joseph Berland
PARKING UPDATE: Construction at 15th and High. For more information click here.

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