Art Salon Chinatown presents Kristina Wong

The Ministry of Culture is pleased to present the sixth edition of Art Salon Chinatown exhibitions featuring Los Angeles artist Kristina Wong. The exhibition will be on view November 3 – December 10, 2018.

The opening reception will be held on Saturday November 3, 2018 from 5:00 to 8:00 pm at Realm, and will feature a live performance by Kristina as she makes her final campaign appearance before the 2018 midterm elections.

Realm will be transformed (partially!) to Kristina Wong’s Campaign Headquarters. Admission to this interactive performance is FREE to the public. Surprises await!

RSVP HERE!

 

 

About Kristina Wong

Kristina Wong was featured in the New York Times’ Off Color series “highlighting artists of color who use humor to make smart social statements about the sometimes subtle, sometimes obvious ways that race plays out in America today.” She is a performance artist, comedian and writer who has been presented internationally across North America, the UK, Hong Kong and Africa.  Most recently, her solo theater show The Wong Street Journal was presented by the US Consulate in  Lagos, Nigeria. She’s been a guest on late night shows on Comedy Central and FX.  She recently had a pilot presentation with Lionsgate for truTV. Her commentaries have appeared on American Public Media’s Marketplace, PBS, VICE, Jezebel,Playgirl Magazine, Huffington Post and CNN. She’s been awarded artist residencies from the MacDowell Colony, New York Theater Workshop, and Ojai Playwrights Festival. Her work has been awarded with grants from Creative Capital, The MAP Fund, Center for Cultural Innovation, National Performance Network, and a COLA Master Artist Fellowship from the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. She’s produced a viral web series called How Not to Pick Up Asian Chicks and has just released Radical Cram School– a web series teaching social justice to Asian American kids 7-11.  She’s recently released music videos that accompany her rap album Mzungu Price.  The album and videos were recorded and produced in post-conflict Northern Uganda where she is the only American recording artist at Empire Records Uganda. Her newest performance project is “Kristina Wong for Public Office”– a simultaneous real life campaign for Public Office and performance art piece.

To learn more please visit KristinaWong.com

Art Salon Chinatown, a program series of solo exhibitions and accompanying artist talks is presented by The Ministry of Culture, and is organized by curators Sonia Mak and Shervin Shahbazi. The salon takes place at Realm, located in Los Angeles Chinatown’s historic Central Plaza, with the primary focus of showcasing contemporary Chinese American and Asian American artists.

Realm is located in Chinatown Central Plaza at 425 Gin Ling Way, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Open Wednesday through Monday 12:00-6:00 PM, Closed Tuesday

Art Salon Chinatown presents May Sun

The Ministry of Culture is pleased to present the fifth edition of Art Salon Chinatown exhibitions featuring Los Angeles artist May Sun. The exhibition will be on view September 22 – October 29, 2018. The opening reception will be held on Saturday September 22, 2018 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at Realm (address at the bottom).

It is an honor to present this exhibition of new work by Los Angeles-based artist May Sun.

As a seasoned artist with a career forged in the fresh legacies of the feminist and civil rights movements in Los Angeles, much of May Sun’s work reflects a deep and methodical preoccupation with history and culture. In her studio practice as well as her public art practice, her Chinese ancestry and contemporary, multicultural American existence have proven to be especially rich terrain for exploration and discovery in her work. Sun has also intentionally embraced the histories and personal narratives of other communities of color and immigrant and native communities, seeking to elucidate the little-known past against erasure.

A three-month residency in Monet’s Garden in Giverny, France, prompted her to reconsider the beauty and power of nature; it proffered a challenge to her surrounded-by-concrete life as a city-dweller. This reverie of the natural world has become a primary lens through which to experience the world, and elements of this deep appreciation for nature have appeared in her work ever since.

Such is true in her new work in her ruminations on home as a place of belonging–replete with a kind of visceral beauty, a space of ritual and respite marked by the changing of the seasons, the cornerstone of what was once the American Dream now unattainable, and a more obscene iteration: a commodity of extraordinary luxury, a disavowal of the basic human right to shelter. As an established professional artist struggling to maintain financial stability and as a citizen witness to Los Angeles’ exploding homeless population, Sun’s thoughts on the subject of home are tinged with the worry of housing insecurity that so many artists face, the precarious balance many of us are so desperate to strike in order to keep a roof over our heads and those of our loved ones, and the enviable, unfettered emancipation that comes from moving freely through the world like the birds who nestle in the artist’s backyard. Sun loves the birds who cohabitate on the property she rents; they enjoy the simplest of life’s pleasures, and their only currency is to live with purpose and intention.

Born in Shanghai and raised in Hong Kong, May Sun received her B.A. in Art (Painting, Sculpture, and Graphic Arts) from UCLA and an MFA in Sculpture at Otis College of Art and Design. Her oeuvre includes the broad range of the visual arts, from painting, photography, and video to performance and large-scale mixed media installation, as well as major public art projects throughout Los Angeles and across the country. She has taught at California Institute for the Arts, Otis, and other art schools and colleges across the US, and recently served as artist in residence at the Rinehart School of Sculpture at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland from 2017-2018.

 

Artist Statement

The Times in L.A./The Meaning of Home

My current house is a small bungalow with a small studio in the back garden. The garden is home to many birds, and regular visitors include hummingbirds, orioles, mockingbirds and scrub jays. It’s the most rooted place I have ever lived, having moved and lived in various apartments previously.

My parents immigrated twice, the first time leaving China for Hong Kong, the second time to the United States. Los Angeles is as close to a home as I’ll ever have. I don’t own my house, and on a hot summer day I went to Home Depot to feel the air conditioning. I saw wood and laminate wood floors on sale and fantasized about replacing our carpeted floors with the wood. Realizing you could take samples of each floor, I took several and thought I could make an art project with them.

I still read the Los Angeles Times, the physical paper, every morning. Every day there are stories about the expanding homeless population, their needs, their trials and tribulations, living on the streets, in tents and in shelters. Every other day there are photos of families being separated at the border and families being tearfully reunited, all because they wanted an opportunity to live in a safe country.

Every weekend in the Hot Property and View magazines, there are exclusive luxury listings for houses that cost $25,500,000 and houses that rent for $65,000 a month. There are “spectacular compounds” where you can “live above the stars,” there are “high-class hideaways,” and there is a “curated collection of premier properties” where if you own one of them, you can show visitors that “sophistication and style know no boundaries.”

What is the meaning of home? Would you pay $65,000 a month to rent a spectacular house even if you can afford it? Do you think that all homeless people are drug addicts and that that they bring it on to themselves? Do you know how easy it is to be evicted if you don’t have steady income and you have an unforgiving landlord? Do you know how many people live in their cars? Do you know how many artists have had to leave

their buildings where they live and work because developers have bought those buildings and are renovating and tripling the rents so that non artists can live in an artsy environment?

Birds nest in trees, forage for food to feed their young and themselves. They fly high in the sky, and can escape danger most of the time by taking off with their wings. When I see the birds in my garden, I realize they have a home here, and they never have to worry about being homeless, or coming up with a billion dollars to live “above the stars.”

May Sun

September 2018

 

Art Salon Chinatown, a program series of solo exhibitions and accompanying artist talks is presented by The Ministry of Culture, and is organized by curators Sonia Mak and Shervin Shahbazi. The salon takes place at Realm, located in Los Angeles Chinatown’s historic Central Plaza, with the primary focus of showcasing contemporary Chinese American and Asian American artists.

 

Realm is located in Chinatown Central Plaza at 425 Gin Ling Way, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Open Wednesday through Monday 12-6:00 PM, Closed Tuesday

Milton Quon Celebrates 105

Milton Quon was born 105 years ago today. He’s a happily married man of more than 70 years to Peggy, with four kids, and four grandsons. For decades, he worked in the commercial arts to provide for his family, and made art on the side to cultivate himself. He is a pioneering Chinese American artist, and Art Salon Chinatown celebrates our extraordinary friend today on his special day. Happy 105th birthday, Milton!

Milton Quon and family at Art Salon Chinatown opening of his exhibit, June 2018. ©TheMinistryOfCulture.com

Art Salon Chinatown Presents Kris Chau

The Ministry of Culture is pleased to present the fourth Art Salon Chinatown exhibition featuring Los Angeles artist Kris Chau. The exhibition will be on view through September 17, 2018.

“Making my own mythology helps me deal with my own darkness and light, polarity, duality, relationships, and the world. Folklore is a way of explaining the unexplainable.”

Kris Chau is a Los Angeles-based visual artist and clothing designer from Hawaii. As Chinese refugees from Vietnam, her parents could not pinpoint the source of their daughter’s creative talent nor explain her insatiable curiosity. In middle school, Chau was an awkward girl with glasses, subject to bullying, but her draftsmanship skills soon became evident amongst her peers. She copied imagery from comics and mastered the horse illustrations in a Chinese brush painting book her grandpa gave her. She produced drawings of superheros and cartoon characters on request for fellow students and teachers. Breaking with her parents’ expectations, she left the island to study at the California College of Art and Crafts in Oakland, where major, merit-based, departmental scholarship awards enabled her to complete her BA in illustration.

Seeking another change of scenery and a new exploratory chapter following college, Chau moved to Philadelphia. Resigned to a life of poverty as an artist, she worked ordinary day jobs to make ends meet. She soon developed a legitimate side business of freelance art projects from around the country. Then came an extraordinary opportunity: Free People hired her to work as a clothing designer despite her lack of any formal training for the vocation. The owner of the company fell in love with Chau’s art work and hired her outright, so her mundane existence as an ostensibly starving artist took a decidedly different turn: a lucrative, new career path.  

Chau continued to place a premium on her studio practice, even as it was relegated to her personal time. She continued to supplement her full-time work with projects and assignments that nurtured her artmaking, even a short stint teaching fashion design illustration at the Maryland Institute College of Art.

After having sidelined her studio practice since her college years in Oakland, Chau took a leap of faith, quit her corporate job of nine years, and moved to Los Angeles in 2015 so that she could dedicate herself to her art making. The risk proved worthwhile: Chau has been busy producing new bodies of work ever since, accompanied by a steady stream of private commissions as well as commercial projects locally and elsewhere. She also established her own artist-driven clothing line and co-founded a small but popular design studio in Chinatown, called Day Space Night.

Her classical art training and commercial art chops notwithstanding, Chau thinks of herself as a folk artist. She explores existential questions, often personal yet universal, in her work, framed in a visual language that is equal parts cosmology, art and folklore from antiquity to the present, comics, and story books. In fact, Chau cites potent and efficient story telling devices in ancient Egyptian and milennia-old Japanese artistic traditions as chief among her inspirations. Modern and contemporary artists who translate their visions across a wide range of mediums and formats have also deeply influenced her work. Chau’s artistry draws from Ruth Asawa’s grace, Louise Bourgeois’s grit, Alexander Girard’s playful yet disciplined design, Sonia Delaunay’s energetic patterns, and Hilma af Klint’s cosmological quest.

Uninterested in fame or glory, Chau describes her purpose of being an artist is to inspire connectedness and understanding, to make images that help people feel less lonely or misjudged.

She says, “My artmaking is the sails on my boat. It has taken me around the world, it is my inner compass, my flare signal.” And she insists that her draftsmanship is her currency: “It is a language that I’ve learned to speak. As long as I’m drawing for the rest of my life, that’s good enough.”

 

Art Salon Chinatown, a program series of solo exhibitions and accompanying artist talks is presented by The Ministry of Culture, and is organized by curators Sonia Mak and Shervin Shahbazi. The salon takes place at Realm, located in Los Angeles Chinatown’s historic Central Plaza, with the primary focus of showcasing contemporary Chinese American and Asian American artists.

RSVP/Join the email list here:

 

Art Salon Chinatown Presents Milton Quon

June 9 – July 30, 2018

Realm, Chinatown Central Plaza, Los Angeles

Milton Quon is a native of Los Angeles, born in 1913. As the eldest of eight children and the only son of the Ng Quan Ying family, he grew up near and worked at his father’s produce business in Market Chinatown, where the Los Angeles Produce Market is located in downtown.

Quon’s talent was apparent at a young age. When it came time for him to go to college and choose a career, Quon entered Frank Wiggins Trade School (what would become Los Angeles Trade-Tech College) and Los Angeles Junior College as an architecture major so that he could take art classes while preparing for a practical, lucrative profession. He soon switched his major to art and won Chouinard Art Institute’s summer scholarship in 1936–the first of many he would receive from the school that would later become the California Institute of the Arts.

Milton Quon’s professional career began with Walt Disney Studios in 1939, helping animate the films Fantasia and Dumbo. With the studio’s strike of 1941, Quon soon entered the world of freelance work, illustrating everything from advertisements for Douglas Aircraft missiles and Laura Scudder mayonnaise to restaurant menus and chopstick instructions for Chinatown’s own Man Jen Low, Soo Chow, and Grandview Gardens, among others. He returned to Disney after the war to create promotional art on projects and films, like Make Mine Music and Song of the South. He went on to become the first Chinese West Coast art director for the ad agency BBD&O, where he managed national accounts. Beyond normal business hours, Quon ran his own Mid-City Art Service, preparing illustrations, layouts, and presentation materials for clients. Quon also shared his creative talent as an instructor at Los Angeles Trade Tech College. As a commercial artist and art director, Quon drew on a broad artistic range that enabled him to fulfill the needs of his clients.

Later in his career and throughout his retirement, Quon continued his art education through informal means. He attended weekend watercolor workshops and classes and returned to painting for pleasure, especially on location, learning and bonding with other watercolor artists, such as Milford Zores, Dong Kingman, Robert E. Wood, and Henry Fukuhara. Quon also added to the thousands of sketches of his native Los Angeles by recording in great detail his recreational travels. An opulent Chinese opera, the symphony at Carnegie Hall, a young tree next to a secret fishing spot, and quotidien scenes were all sketched in haste and depicted in the same vein: with a balance of formal economy, composition geared for maximum impact, and a sensitivity to the most important details, such as mood and sensory information.

Quon rarely exhibited his art work prior to his retirement. Over the last two decades, he has had exhibitions and worked as a movie and television extra. After many years of making art for others, it is not surprising that sales of his works are not a priority for Quon with regard to his own fine art practice. He prefers to collect his paintings, much like his approach to sketchbooking. In May of 2005, Quon enjoyed his first major solo museum exhibition, Impressions: Milton Quon’s Los Angeles at the Chinese American Museum.

The works in the exhibition are but a small selection from Quon’s own extensive collection. His plein-air watercolors and sketchbooks, with their rich, intuitive colors and expressive lines, form the basis of Quon’s fine art practice. The artist’s oeuvre is replete with hometown glory: his pictures chronicle everyday life against the backdrop of Los Angeles’s changing natural and urban landscape.

 

Milton Quon, Nov. 2017 Photo © Shervin Shahbazi

Milton will celebrate his 105th birthday in August.

Special thanks to Milton and his wife of more than 70 years, Peggy, and their four children, Michael, Jeffrey, Timothy, and Sherrill.

Excerpts of this text were drawn from the exhibition description of Impressions: Milton Quon’s Los Angeles and the main essay from the exhibition catalogue, entitled ‘Round the Clock: Chinese American Artists Working in Los Angeles, both of which were authored by this curator, Sonia Mak.

Realm is located at 425 Gin Ling Way, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Art Salon Chinatown, a new program series of solo exhibitions and accompanying artist talks is presented by The Ministry of Culture, and is organized by curators Sonia Mak and Shervin Shahbazi. The salon takes place at Realm, located in Los Angeles Chinatown’s historic Central Plaza, with the primary focus of showcasing contemporary Chinese American and Asian American artists.

LA’s Artist & Craftsman Art Supply Donation

Art Salon Chinatown would like to thank Artist & Craftsman Supply in downtown Los Angeles for their donation of art supplies for Greetings from Chinatown event on Sunday April 15th. Special thanks to Rosalee Bernabe at ACS for her kindness and assistance.

Artist & Craftsman Supply Store is located at 1917-1921 E 7th St, Los Angeles, CA 90023.

Greetings From Chinatown

Art Salon Chinatown @ Realm presents

Live art making in the historic Central Plaza

Sunday April 15, 2018, 12-4 pm

Participating artists: Sandra Low, Ada Pullini Brown, Kay Brown, Carolyn Castaño, Christopher ChinnEileen HsuNzuji de MagalhãesMaryrose Cobarrubias MendozaVictoria Tao

Public welcome to join.

Post your pics on Instagram using #ArtSalonChinatown

Artists will set up in front of Realm in the Central Chinatown Plaza, 425 Gin Ling Way, Los Angeles, CA 90012

 

Art Salon Chinatown presents Sandra Low

The Ministry of Culture is pleased to present Art Salon Chinatown, a new program series of solo exhibitions and accompanying artist talks, organized by curators Sonia Mak and Shervin Shahbazi. The salon will take place at Realm, located in Los Angeles Chinatown’s historic Central Plaza, with the primary focus of showcasing contemporary Chinese American and Asian American artists. The series will begin on March 17, 2018 with an exhibition of works by Los Angeles-based artist Sandra Low. A reception for the artist will be held from 6:00-8:00pm. Sonia Mak will conduct a conversation with the artist at 5:00 pm. RSVP is required for the talk portion of the program as space is limited. The exhibition will be on view through April 22, 2018.

Sandra Low is currently working on a series she calls Cheesy Paintings. A dizzying melange of patterns and textures push and pull against one another in Cranes’ Idyll, the signature piece for the inaugural Art Salon Chinatown. Awash in a palette that evokes the flavor of a middle-class family restaurant’s cheap vintage, the deft brushwork in a broad array of mannered effects show off Low’s undeniable gift as a painter.

Sandra Low, Cranes’ Idyll, 2016, oil, acrylic, fabric, and rick rack on canvas, 40″ x 50″

Playing to her strengths–her dark humor and angst-filled imagination, Low’s Cheesy Paintings rail against all that is revered as finery, beauty, and sacred…by dousing them with hot, melted cheese. She defaces who and what we idolize and idealize, not out of mere transgression, but to cast doubt and judgment on systems of culture, politics, and religion in their entirety. Low further implicates us in our own cultural indoctrination: her admonition to viewers is to gird ourselves against the onslaught of deception, to know the cost of our blind acceptance, and to seek out, instead, meaning and value. Conspicuous consumption, the cult of celebrity, and good taste all go down in scalding Velveeta.

Low’s concurrent series of Bird and Flower Paintings reflects her personal and artistic preoccupation with her mother’s multicultural experience as a Chinese immigrant and the cultural and generational gap that exists between the two women. Here, Low doctors mass-produced, store bought paintings inspired by the millennia-old Chinese painting tradition of symbolic pairings of flowers with birds, a genre once reserved for the literati. Amidst garishly-hued flowers bestowing good fortune, Low superimposes a scraggly, mismatched bird. She paints her mother’s feedback verbatim along the margins of each piece, claiming the both the literati custom and domain of poems, personal sentiments, and carved colophons.

Sandra Low, Bird & Flower, Enough Art, 2018, acrylic and ink on paper on found painting, 18″ x 11.5″

Sandra Low received Bachelor’s degrees in Art and Sociology at University of California, Berkeley, and her Master’s of Fine Art from University of Southern California, where she studied with Robbie Conal. She currently teaches at Long Beach City College and Rio Hondo College, and taught for over ten years at Pasadena City College. Low has exhibited actively since 1997, has been awarded several public art commissions, and has developed exhibitions as a curator and juror.

Join the email list here:

 

Art Salon Chinatown @ Realm

425 Gin Ling Way, Los Angeles, CA 90012

New Year, New Projects

The Ministry of Culture was formed twelve years ago and since then it has been involved in creating many arts and cultural projects all benefitting the community at large and the people of Los Angeles in particular. All our programs are interactive in one way or another and engages the public.

It has been a very fruitful experience for all involved. We have had many collaborations with dozens of artists and cultural activists and have been trying to be present in our communities and contribute the only way we know how, by curating exhibitions, public art performances, temporary public art installations and much more that has included almost all art disciplines.

We have new projects planned for 2018. In March we will launch Art Salon Chinatown, an artist exhibition and talk series with a focus on Chinese American artists. We are also bringing back WE SAY NO! and this time we’re calling it WE SAY NO, AGAIN! It aims to engage the public in directly expressing themselves in a very direct way by speaking their mind regarding the proposed border wall-again- and posting the videos all across the media. We also have some other great projects in the works for this year and will be announcing them soon.

Please feel free to send us a note with your contact info if you like to receive occasional updates. Stay Tuned!