Art Salon Chinatown Presents
Iconographies of Asian America
February 8 – April 4, 2020
Opening Reception: Saturday February 8, 2020 , 5 – 8 pm
Sandra Low, Hooker, from “Ma Stories”, 2007, Graphite on paper, 16 1/4 x 14”
Sandra Low, Helpful, 2017, Graphite on paper, 10 x 13”
Sandra Low, Just Don’t Bring AIDS Home, from “Ma Stories”, 2009, Ink on paper, 10 1/2 x 7 1/2”
Sandra Low, Minor Adjustment, from “Ma Stories”, 2012, Ink, watercolor and acrylic on paper, 14 x 10”
Sandra Low, Hole, 2008, Graphite on paper, 15 x 11″
Sandra Low, I’m Terrific, 2010, Ink, watercolor, stickers on paper, 11 x 7”
Sandra Low, Only Hookers Don’t Close Up the Neck on Cheongsam, 2017, Ink and watercolor on paper, 10 x 13 1/2”
Sandra Low, I do not want to colonoscopy, from “Ma Stories”, 2008, Graphite on paper, 14 x 9 3/4”
Sandra Low, White People are Coming!, from “Ma Stories”, Ink, graphite, color pencil on paper, 2003, 16 1/4 x 14”
Sandra Low, The Hallelujah, from “Ma Stories”, 2009, Ink and color pencil on paper, 12 x 7 1/2”
Sandra Low, What It Is (Ken Price), 2012, Ink and gouache on paper, 14 x 9 3/4”
Sandra Low, Eurasian Hott!, 2011, Ink and watercolor on paper, 10 x 15”
Sandra Low, Suck on That, Martha Stewart, from “Ma Stories”, 2003, Ink, color pencil on paper, 16 1/4 x 14”
Sandra Low, Earthquake Salami, from “Ma Stories”, 2011, Graphite and watercolor on paper, 10 x 14”
Sandra Low, Being Agreeable, 2016, Ink and watercolor on paper, 15 1/4 x 12 3/4”
Sandra Low, Ma’s Stories, from “Ma Stories”, 2009, Ink and collage on paper, 10 x 15”
Sandra Low, 2 Names, 2017, Ink, gouache, watercolor on paper, 17 x 14”
Thinh Nguyen, The Last Frontier of Colonial Power, 2019, Acrylic on monk robe and poly-fill, Variable dimensions
Thinh Nguyen, White Power White Terror, 2018, House paint on repurposed painting, 45 x 70”
Thinh Nguyen, Manifest Destiny of Imperial Power, 2019, Disassembled U.S. flag, fabric, mannequin head, Variable dimensions
Việt Lê, (left panel) untitled (gold by the inch) , 2019, Gold leaf, rhinestones, wax, silver hardware, smoke, smudging, 48 x 36 x 2”
(Photos) untitled, from the pictures of you series, 2002-ongoing , C-prints, Edition of 4 + 1 AP, 5 x 5” (print size)
Việt Lê, untitled (ascension) , 2019, Mixed media: gold leaf, encaustic elements, rhinestones, ink, scratches, 72 x 36 x 2.3”, (2 panels of 36 x 36”)
Cirilo Domine, stir.heal, 2018, Indigo-dyed linen, fabric paint, 29 x 24″
Cirilo Domine, Frayed Borders , 2020, Traced pattern from a circa 1920 Philippine camisa, Indigo dyed linen, 20 x 20″
Michelle Sui, Street Angel (still), 2019, Digital / Video, 23 minutes
L.A. RAW featuring Hushi, Against The Present, 2020, Mixed media installation
Art Salon Chinatown is pleased to present LOADED: Iconographies of Asian America, an exhibition inspired by the wealth of connections and contexts that problematize any simple definition of “Asian America” as a lexicon of representation. If we can accept this identifier at its most supple and capacious, as Margo Machida has suggested, then perhaps we can constructively think of “Asian American” as a descriptor that is uncomfortably and, at the same time, beautifully loaded in its geographies, affirmations, negations, possibilities, and ambiguities.
LOADED highlights the multivalent positionality of Asian American artists, first, by offering a glimpse into the range of perspectives and modes of address through which they articulate their ideas and, second, by providing a platform for their wide-ranging iconographies to be seen and considered together. This small sampling of works is meant to implicate a vast spectrum of ideas, interests, and ways of thinking in contemporary Asian American art practice.
Asserting the notion that clothing is architecture, Cirilo Domine’s garments evoke the layers of transformation that result from the passage of time, rendered legible upon a city, a nation, and, finally, the body.
Intimate portraits by Việt Lê are precious and diminutive in scale, providing a rare look into the interior lives of queer men from his international circle of friends and colleagues. Inspired by his childhood immigration experience as a refugee, Lê’s ornamental performative paintings layer smoke, wax, gold, and other mediums to process grief, activate healing, and signal possibility.
For more than a decade, Sandra Low has been making drawings inspired by the generation gap that she and her immigrant mother share. Replete with Low’s special brand of irreverent humor, her expansive Ma Stories series attests to the difficulties interpreting language and its slippages across culture and generation and the worthwhile yet unrelenting enterprise of translation.
Thinh Nguyen has committed the past several years to the careful study of the complex legacies of American racism, specifically more recent manifestations of white supremacy and nationalism, alongside power, religion, violence, and war. His three works profess disturbing insights drawn from his research, social experiments, and subsequent performances.
Michelle Sui’s film Street Angel explores the icon of Chinatown itself. In a film that is part documentary and part performance, Sui employs song, sound, language, and space to point to the changing fabric of the neighborhood and the cultural and historical transformations of the communities that live, work, and pass through there.
Created in collaboration with artist/fashion designer Hushidar Mortezaei, L.A. RAW’s installation, Against the Present, operates as an indictment against the inherent misogeny of Iran’s rule for the past 40 years: no one is free until women are free.
The mission of Art Salon Chinatown is to feature contemporary art created by Asian American artists, which we broadly define as artists of the Asian diaspora based in the US. Through our exhibition program of centering Asian American artists, we have sought to address what we have long perceived to be a stubborn and persistent underrepresentation of Asian American artists in Los Angeles’s mainstream arts community and short supply offered by Asian American cultural institutions, with the exception of a few small, niche communities thriving as peripheral subcultures. Art Salon Chinatown’s project, then, has been to strategically privilege Asian American artists by providing a nurturing space for them to present their work, share their views, build community, and be celebrated.