(de)Constructing Chinatown opening at the Chinese American Museum

Last night I attended the opening of (de)Constructing Chinatown, the Chinese American Museum‘s newest exhibit. The group art show was envisioned by curator Steven Wong as a creative way to reflect the diverse peoples and perspectives that create L.A.’s Chinatown. I didn’t get to say hi to all of the artists (or even Steve, who was in New York) but I did get to catch up with my old friend Shizu Saldamando (above). Her impossibly fine–and effortlessly cool–pen-on-bedsheet works are featured prominently, right next to the show’s main signage and statement.

The upstairs gallery also features new takes on classic painted forms, nearly subliminal collage using bits and pieces of photos of Chinatown, and guerrilla photography and video of the neighborhood. Buy the catalog when it comes out and look up the artists!

Eloise had a lot of fun with the whimsical and  interactive miniature version of Chinatown using various found and vintage parts, painter’s tape, and burlap sacks.

In the downstairs gallery, Wendy reintroduced herself to photographer Betty Lee (below). Wendy was taught by Betty at a jr. high art camp and then interviewed her for a college paper! Other works on the first-floor gallery included highly detailed blueprint-inspired illustration and funny, subversive animation. You’ll want to check the catalog to identify those artists, as well.

I also spotted an old friend of friends, Mat Gleason at the reception. You might be familiar with his intelligently confrontational Coagula art journal, the related gallery, or the Down By Law song “Mat Gleason Is God.”

At the end of the reception, the museum’s crew and artists who were present took a group picture. What am I doing in there? I wrote the introduction to the program–my return to print! Thanks for asking me to contribute to this amazing show, Steve, and let’s get some coffee when you come back to town/the books arrive.

(de)Constructing Chinatown runs from July 26-October 28, 2012 at the Chinese American Museum, 425 North Los Angeles Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012. Phone: 213-485-8567. Web: camla.org

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