Camden Art Centre is proud to present the European exhibition of the work of Chinese-American artist Martin Wong (born 1946 in Portland, Oregon, died 1999 in San Francisco).
Martin Wong is widely recognised for his extraordinary depictions of social, sexual and political scenographies from the 1970s, 80s, and 90s. Weaving together narratives of queer existence, marginal communities, and urban gentrification, Wong stands out as an important countercultural voice at odds with the art establishment’s reactionary discourse at the time.
Heavily influenced by his immediate surroundings, Wong’s practice merges the visual languages of Chinese iconography, urban poetry, graffiti, carceral aesthetics, and sign language as well as drawing heavily on the Latin American community he became so closely involved with. His work offers an important insight into a decisive period of recent American history, as told through its changing urban landscapes and unfolding hidden desires.
Martin Wong: Malicious Mischief presents a survey of over 100 of the artist’s works. It encompasses early paintings and sculptures made in the euphoric environments of San Francisco and Eureka, California, in the late 1960s and early 1970s; Wong’s iconic 1980s and 1990s paintings, made during his time in a dilapidated New York City; as well as his reminiscences on the imagery of the East and West Coast Chinatowns, made prior to his premature death from an AIDS/ HIV-related illness.