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Current Exhibitions on View 

Forgotten Faces: Visual Representation of Trauma and Mass Killings in Asia

Through December 12, 2020
(Previously Scheduled Dates: March 12 through June 14, 2020)

Charles B. Wang Center Skylight Gallery, Zodiac Gallery

Curated by Jinyoung Jin, Forgotten Faces traces the cultural phenomenon of mass killings and political trauma in Asia. Although the Holocaust sparked horror and outrage, mass killings did not stop—in fact, they became a defining characteristic of modern society across the globe, including our current moment. Asia, in particular, was the site of many such atrocities, with untold numbers of civilians dying as victims of colonialism, Cold War politics, unstable nation-state systems, capitalism, globalization, social and economic inequality, and growing ecological challenges.

This exhibition reveals the links between these crimes against humanity and works of art, featuring artists Kim Hak (Cambodia), Kumi Yamashita (Japan), Federico Borella (Italy), Lim Ok-Sang (Korea), Noh Suntag (Korea), Choi Byungsoo (Korea), Jung Min-Gi (Korea), Lee Yunyop (Korea), Tenzing Rigdol (Tibet), Tung Min-Chin (Taiwan) and Joe Sacco (US). In the midst of tensions between journalism and aesthetics, we can find documentation of unspeakable acts and a crisis of representation. Forgotten Faces raises public awareness of a largely ignored history of brutality and undertakes to answer how art can express dark histories and a desire for social justice.



The Studio exhibit poster

The Studio:
Through a Surrealistic Lens

Long-Term Installation
Charles B. Wang Center Theatre Gallery

White, flat, dreamlike spaces, serving as thresholds between the inner, subjective self and the external, physical world, were a subject that fascinated the South Korea-based project group GREEM (a name that literally translates to “picture” in Korean). GREEM’s goal is to elicit feelings of strangeness, difference, curiosity, and fun in its audiences. Following a long and rich Surrealist tradition, GREEM draws inspiration from dreamlike narratives, absurd juxtapositions, and comic books for new graphic languages.

A huge, flattened, and cartoon-like artist’s studio in white and black is open, inviting viewers to live out their surrealistic fantasies. The realistic detailing of the artist’s studio also adds touches of humor, utility, and everyday-ness. As soon as the viewer enters the studio (which is carefully modeled and gives the illusion of a three-dimensional form), surrealistic dreams are triggered; the white, flat scene and the viewer’s point of view are disrupted.

The current exhibition is designed to be reproduced and seen on social media as much as it is meant to be enjoyed in its actual location. This imaginative exhibition crosses perspective, culture, and media.

Curated by Jinyoung Jin, Director of Cultural Programs at the Charles B. Wang Center, this exhibition is designed and presented by Project Group GREEM, based in Seoul, South Korea.

greem logo

Simplicity Over Complexity poster

Simplicity Over Complexity

Long-Term Installation
Charles B. Wang Center Outdoor Garden

Brooklyn-based Korean American artist Jongil Ma revives the Charles B. Wang Center's outdoor garden with architecturally woven sculptures, using varying lengths and types of thin wooden strips, both in their raw state and dyed in color. Three large, site-specific installations balance the positive with the negative, tranquility with tension, and stillness with movement. The installations interact with the Wang Center's architecture and spatial dynamics, transforming the garden through a multiplicity of viewing possibilities.

* The Charles B. Wang Center's exterior garden was cleaned up by Pi Lambda Phi Fraternity as part of their community service. A special thanks to Ahmed Shata, Andrew Zheng, Omar Sandresy, Dan Monessa, Dhaval Shah, and Brian Crosby.

Zen Rock Garden poster

Zen Rock Garden

Long-Term Installation
Charles B. Wang Center Outdoor Garden

Located on the first floor, in between the meeting rooms 101 and 102 at the Charles B. Wang Center, this Japanese rock garden (枯山水 karesansui) was created by Gerard Senese and his wife Hiroko Uraga-Senese as a tribute to the appreciation of Japanese culture. Japanese gardens are rich with symbolism, and they are usually created with certain meanings and wishes in mind. The Wang Center's new Zen garden features symbols of Buddhist paradises with a tortoise islet ( kame-jima) and a crane islet ( tsuru-jima). Made with rocks, the tortoise symbolizes prosperity and the crane symbolizes health and good luck.

White wonderland exhibit photo

White Wonderland

Long-Term Installation
Charles B. Wang Center Skylight Gallery

Wonju Seo is a Korean American artist whose primary medium has been textiles. The innovating textile artist Wonju Seo blurs the boundary between traditional craft, geometric abstract painting, and architectural sculpture with her vibrant textile works. In particular, Seo often explores the bold and abstract color sensibilities of pojagi. Pojagi is a centuries-old traditional Korean form of patchwork used to wrap gifts, to cover small food tray tables, and to carry around objects of everyday life, from jewelry to a heavy bedding. A utilitarian craft form, pojagi was originally made from the small pieces of silk, ramie, and hemp left over or discarded in the process of making garments.

Permanently displayed at Stony Brook University’s Charles B. Wang Center since 2015, Wonju Seo’s White Wonderland is integrated into a four-story skylight wall. The patchwork is 32 feet long and 26 feet wide, hanging from the center’s fourth floor and reaching to the ground just above a person’s height. In this work, Seo tackles abstract patterns with a radical simplicity of vocabulary and on a gigantic scale, aspects that distinguish her work from many other pojagi artists.

Seo uses simple geometric forms related to navigation and transforms them to create another reality, an entirely new spatial dynamic. But this dynamism is not due solely to the vastness of the patchwork; the effect is also driven by the rhythmic small patchwork patterns that cover this four-story wall. Through the pattern and the sheer size of the piece, she wanted the informality of this textile structure to become a part of the building’s structure.

Wonju Seo catalogue cover

Click here to view the catalogue

Visual Journals exhibit poster

Visual Journals From Asia: The Early 20th Century Prints

August 25, 2020 — September 20, 2020

Intercontinental travel, communication, and cultural exchange have become routine in the age of globalization. Yet only a century ago, Westerners with in-depth experience of Asia and Asian cultures were few and far between. The artists featured in this exhibition –– Paul Jacoulet (France, 1896-1960), Elizabeth Keith (UK, 1887-1956) and Lilian May Miller (USA, 1895-1943) –– spent significant portions of their lives and careers in Asia. The work of these artists reflects to some extent the predominant Orientalist Western ideologies of the time –– an understanding, in the words of Edward Said, of Asia “as almost a European invention… a place of romance, exotic beings, haunting memories and landscapes, remarkable experiences.” Their works, however, are not mere exoticist “postcards from the Orient.” Instead, they are complex and critical works by artists with nuanced bicultural identities: artists who synthesized techniques of East Asian painting, printmaking, and etching; whose styles and sensibilities were shaped by cultural exchange; and who trained and collaborated with East Asian artists and craftspeople in the creation of their works.

The more than 50 extraordinary prints and etchings in this virtual exhibition constitute rare “visual journals” of landscape, lifestyle, and culture of Japan, China, Singapore, Korea, the Philippines, and the Pacific Islands in the early twentieth century.

All the artworks in this exhibition are on loan from the Collection of Dr. Young-dahl Song.