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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

Martin Wong: Malicious Mischief


KW Institute for Contemporary Art / Berlin / Art

The Asian-American artist Martin Wong was the ultimate outsider. He was born in Portland, Oregon, was raised in San Francisco’s Chinatown, and in 1978 settled in a cheap hotel overlooking Manhattan’s South Street Seaport. Wong eventually moved to the Lower East Side, living in its Puerto Rican community. He painted the vibrance of the city, highlighting its density and verticality. Musty stairwells, tall buildings, scorched brick and rubble were subjects of fascination. The neighborhood grew quieter around 1990, as many of Wong’s peers fell to AIDS. In the mid–90s, when he himself became sick, Wong moved back to his parent’s house. He continued to paint until his death in 1999. This exhibition presents over 100 works by Wong. —E.C.

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