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My biggest regret is that I tried a little too hard to fit in when I first began writing art reviews for Art in America in 1977, as if I could actually pass as a member of the “model minority.” If I had had the right gyroscope and had known when I should have acted cool and well bred instead of sullen, I might have had a smoother time. Was it because I knew deep down that if I had acted like a polite — or inscrutable — Asian, I would never have been able to pull it off? Why did I keep trying?
Should I have yelled when people mistook me for David Diao, who once told me that the art world wasn’t ready for two Asians? I later realized he was only half-joking.
After I started writing reviews for Art in America, it became obvious that I would only be assigned exhibitions that none of the other critics wanted to review. That might have made sense in the beginning, but not after five years, which is why I left and started writing for Arts and later Artforum.
And yet this first taste of editorial rejection convinced me to continue my habit of frequenting galleries such as Allan Frumkin, Robert Elkon, Cordier & Ekstrom, Robert Schoelkopf, A. M. Sachs, and others whose names I have forgotten, all of which were far from Soho, where it was all happening.
Even after recognizing the context of these professional constraints, however, I still did — or, more precisely, didn’t do — things that I regret. In the mid-1980s, after I first found out about the paintings of Matsumi “Mike” Kanemitsu, an under-known “Second Generation” Abstract Expressionist, why didn’t I take the time to go to the Donnell Library and dig deeper into his work, as I had for so many neglected white artists? After my pitch to write about Susan Rothenberg was rejected, why didn’t I instead investigate the beguiling painter Miyoko Ito, who at the time showed mostly in Chicago, and try to put her work in front of a broader public?
A few years after I left Art in America, I wrote about Wifredo Lam for Arts and Hiroshi Sugimoto for Artforum. By this time, nearly a decade had passed since I first started writing art criticism. In the face of resistance, why didn’t I take an alternative path right from the beginning? Why did it take me so long to embrace my otherness and realize that fitting in had always been a fool’s errand?
New works by one of Bangladesh’s most prominent photojournalists, writers, and activists are on view at the Chicago art space through November 27.
Council often uses humor as a political tool to expose systems of power and inequality in a society in which even death carries a high price tag.
An exhibition at the San Francisco Opera House pairs the work of incarcerated artists with Beethoven’s story of unjust imprisonment.
Many works take disruption and repetition as their themes, and many artists resurface in different sections, creating multiple affinities.
Hear from Holly Jean Buck, Carolina Caycedo and David de Rozas, Simon Denny, Elizabeth Hoover, Renee Kemp-Rotan, Joseph Kunkel, and more at this free public event.
In Cooking with Paris, Hilton capitalizes on her portrayal of being a competent woman, while highlighting its anachronism through her absurd performance. Rosler manipulates the camera in the same way.
EFA Open Studios offers a portal into the creative habitats of over 65 artists working in Manhattan’s longest-running studio program, including Dannielle Tegeder, Wafaa Bilal, Cui Fei, and Anina Major.
A man says Blue Bayou took details of his life without his permission. Several women who appear in the documentary Sabaya say they did not consent to be filmed. How can filmmakers avoid these ethical pitfalls?
Ursula Biemann, Nicolas Bourriaud, and others said they will no longer participate in the event.
There is an official ban against the public mourning of Tiananmen Square victims in Hong Kong and mainland China.