Thursday, October 30, 2014
Profile: Martin Wong

A Note on Martin Wong by Bob Lee, Founder of the Asian American Arts Center
Illustration for the New Yorker

Illustration of the New Yorker

Drawing of Bob Lee

Martin Wong and Bob Lee at the Minds I Reception

Uptown/Downtown Exhibition

Martin Wong on the roof of his  house
Martin Wong participated in nine AAAC exhibitions, “In The Mind’s I” Part 1 in 1987 with Benny Andrews, Raphael Soyer, and Chiu Ya-Tsai. He participated in three Open Studio exhibitions in 1985 and 1988; “Uptown/Downtown” held in DCA Gallery in 1989; “AAAC Story” held at NYU a/p/a in 2002 as well as the Tiananmen Square exhibitions in 1989, 1990, and 2014.

You can see him with me in AAAC gallery with his painting of his parents over Chinatown in the background that he did in 1982.  I went to his apartment in early 1987 where he took me to his roof and I got this picture of him with his latest painting. It was at that time he gave me a booklet with over thirty of his drawings; he got published in Eureka in 1986.

I got back in touch with Martin when I was invited to ship part of the Tiananmen Square exhibition to Hong Kong.  His round painting was too large to ship to HK so he agreed to make a rectangular one.  That was in 1990. It was later in May 1991 that an opportunity to illustrate a New Yorker magazine article came about. I had been talking to a writer for the New Yorker, Gwen Kinkead, who was doing an article on Chinatown and my landlord that came out in June 1991, so it may have been for that article or another that Martin’s work almost got published.  That's when he did a few drawings for them, and one of me working in the office.

More of Martin's work can be found here. Images from the AAAC archive.
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