Reactions to Ryan Wong’s Joe Scanlan ‘Bombshell’

by Hrag Vartanian on June 17, 2014

Ryan Wong, "Ryan Wong" (2014) (used with permission of the artist)

Ryan Wong, “Ryan Wong” (2014) (used with permission of the artist)

The reaction to Ryan Wong’s satirical take on Joe Scanlan’s Donelle Woolford project has been intense. From confusion to anger, from elation to we’re not sure what, I thought I’d sift through some of them from around the internet and put them together for your (and my) convenience — though I admit some of them are hard to categorize.

Many commenters astutely pointed out that Wong’s piece was the ultimate form of “scanlaning” (aka calling out white privilege in the art world, though definitions of what this term actually means differ — see comments below). I also want to thank Ashton Cooper of Artinfo for clarifying that the post was a “meta-parody,” particularly since many people didn’t seem to realize that.

Now, let’s take a look.

Presenting ‘Ryan Wong’

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The Confusion

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Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 8.02.14 PM


The Elation

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The Anger

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We’re not sure

Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 6.54.43 PMScreen Shot 2014-06-17 at 7.01.52 PM Screen-Shot-2014-06-17-at-7.3133333     Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 7.03.20 PM 1

The … Wait, Is This a Joke?

Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 6.45.03 PM


Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 7.08.45 PM

Who Is ‘Ryan Wong’?

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Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 7.57.01 PM

And the Assessments

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And Some Really Thoughtful Threads on Facebook


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  • Carlo Grassini


  • Dushko Petrovich

    I don’t think the definition of “Scanlaning” is “calling out white privilege in the art world.” Where has it been used in that sense?

    • Hi Dushko, Right here:

      • Dushko Petrovich

        Thanks, Hrag, I hadn’t seen that. I’m not sure which version is original, but I think I saw it used in the more or less opposite sense, which, to me, makes more sense. But such is language, and such is tumblr.

    • Den Hickey

      Lets adjust the definition a bit, shall we.. calling out white privilege in the art world while perpetuating sexism in the art world.

  • Nicholas Thayer

    I guess people really didn’t get that it was a joke? w/e I’m the real scanlan any way

  • toddlevin

    If only Ryan and Hyperallergic would have written a thoughtful article as good as this on the subject –…/la-et-cam-donelle-woolford…

    • Drinking the kool-aid, I see.

      • toddlevin

        That’s the most thoughtful commentary you have to offer on such a well written article? A five word cliche? That evinces the state of critical thinking at this blog even more than puerile article in question.

  • Den Hickey

    Yeah, nevermind the sexism in the art world that is going unaddressed by this.. an asian GUY pretending to be a white GUY pretending to be a black WOMAN.

  • Sophia Wallace

    Recapping the wins
    1. Joe Scanlan got catfished
    2. White, male, supremacy in the art world was brilliantly translated first by Eunsong Kim & Maya Mackrandilal in their piece for the New Inquiry and then by Ryan Wong.
    3. The Whitney Museum of American Art was effectively infiltrated, as evidenced by the defensive anons in the comments section of the “I am Joe Scanlan” satirical piece.
    More of this please, carry on Hyperallergic.

  • IamNimki

    Re Carlo Grass: Loving it! One really needs laughter. Ryan,Scanlaning,Black, Gay etc. Life is confusing, just enjoy it. A storm in a thimble.

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