Greetings from Chinatown Soup. We are writing to invite you to our first resident artist showcase featuring Ashley Yang-Thompson. Ashley asked that invitations to her show include questions to invitees. Here are yours:
Are you tired of typical art world bullshit?
Do you like a thong with the perfect snapback?
Are you balding?
Are you having trouble finding the perfect concealer?
Are you bored to the point of almost destroying your family?
Do you need to learn how to breathe?
Do you thrive in the darkness?
What if art was a casual experience?
What if art came in a Happy Meal®?
We’re calling it General Heartbreak 1993—a mind-explosion technique that speaks to our generation about the politics of emotion. This is not another female artist talking about being female. This is an artist showing us a way to be, and that begins with deconstructing “the gaze.” The late John Berger (#RIP) said, “Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at.” If he came to see Ashley’s show, we think he’d be pleased to realize that the future is women introducing telepathy to our species. One day, looking at art will be superseded by experiencing it.
If you’re still wondering about the standard artist-name-drop-for-comparative-context part of this exhibit statement, then please consider the following riff on how Ashley can be understood in relation to those who have inspired her:
a millennial Pipillotti Rist, a half-Chinese “Yayakusama,” a socratic Jenny Holzer, a feminine Basquiat. Or, in Ashley’s words: “I am the opposite of Richard Serra.”
In contrast to Serra’s labyrinth of steel walls that live prominently above ground and encourage solitary interaction, Ashley has constructed a mixed media woman cave underground that is designed to bring people together.
This show is not only an embrace of communicating with emotion but also an experiment with language and time. Here is a next wave alternative space, where feeling safe means taking it slow. Consider thinking about it as the Factory without needles, wonderland without fear, or the playground you imagined as a child. You’ll find five napping stations, a blemished runway, lingerie forest, dead disco ball, open envelope invitations, and bird calls that have been attracting a growing number of wanderers since late December.
By January 10, our upstairs gallery will be filled with protest signs, a “bad painting” series, a live window display, poetry, and music. Ashley used local objects and scavenged items from Materials for the Arts to produce all of these works. They’re available to take home for less than the price of a Happy Meal® because it’s 2017, and there are enough frauds in power.