CURP15 Thesis Exhibition: Martin Wong: Painting Is Forbidden

Curated by Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice Class of 2015
March 13–April 18, 2015
Martin Wong, As Seen on T.V. – It’s Fun to Shop and Save, 1981
350 Kansas Street, Perry Family Event Center (between 16th & 17th Streets)

Free and open to the public
Reception: Friday, March 13, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Gallery hours: Tues.–Fri., noon–7 p.m.; Sat.; closed Sun. & Mon.
More info: Carey Lin,

Martin Wong: Painting is Forbidden is a solo exhibition dedicated to the work of Chinese-American artist Martin Wong (1946-1999), which encompasses writing, calligraphy, drawing, ceramics, theatrical set design, painting, poetry, and collage.

Wong is known primarily for the paintings he produced while operating in the dynamic subcultures of the Nuyorican poets and graffiti artists of 1970s and 1980s New York. But prior to this interlude in his life, Wong, who grew up in San Francisco and studied in Eureka, California, had already produced a wild and curious body of work.

He was a prolific poet and ceramicist, a psychedelic painter, an artistic collaborator in the radical communal theater of the Angels of Light, and a self-described “Human Instamatic.”

The title of the exhibition, taken from Wong’s writing, describes this restless, free-thinking practice beyond the paintings for which he is most recognized.

Drawn from the artist’s archives at the Fales Library at New York University, the artist’s estate at P.P.O.W. Gallery, New York, the de Young Museum, and private collections in Northern California, the exhibition includes over 150 works and ephemera by the artist from across his career, most of which have never been presented before.

Though Wong has been exhibited nationally and internationally in recent years, in New York, Berlin, and Hong Kong, this will be the first expansive and cross-media exhibition of his work in San Francisco, the city the artist called home.

Visit for information about additional programming.

Image: Martin Wong, As Seen on T.V. – It’s Fun to Shop and Save, 1981. (Courtesy of the Estate of Martin Wong and P.P.O.W Gallery, New York)

See also: The Next 25 Years: Propositions for the Future of Curatorial Education, a CURP symposium March 14-15.

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