Episode 12: Steve Wong

(un)making

Episode 12: Steve Wong

By Weston Teruya June 9, 2017

Weston Teruya welcomes artists, arts administrators, and cultural workers of color to get real about their lives, practices, and careers. Each episode is an in-depth look into how art gets made, but more importantly how these folks are seeing to the system of art’s (UN)making.


This episode we talk with artist and Chinese American Museum, Los Angeles curator Steven Wong about their current exhibition Roots: Asian American Movements in Los Angeles 1968-1980s curated by colleague Ryan Wong. Steven walks us through the formation of pan-ethnic Asian American social movements through resistance against war, imperialism, patriarchy, and threats to local neighborhoods as told through activists’ photographic and textual archives. He also explains how the exhibition demonstrates the inextricable link between Asian American artistic production and activism through the work of groups like Visual Communications, East West Players, A Grain of Sand, and Gidra. We also talk about working at the museum as a political ideology, using an ethnic specific platform to build bridges with other communities, and lessons learned from having to serve as interim Executive Director of the organization.

You can follow Steven on Instagram and Twitter at @astrobuddha. The Chinese American Museum, Los Angeles is on Instagram and Twitter at @camLAorg. A downloadable copy of the ‘zine accompanying the exhibition that Steven mentions can be accessed here.

Lead image: "Sisters" basketball team at the Alpine Recreation Center in Chinatown: Suzi Wong, Janet Lim, Elizabeth Louie Chikuami, May Chen, Susie Chow, Marie Chung, Anna Gee, coached by Wally Quan, 1972. Asian Pacific American Photographic Collection, Visual Communications Archives.​

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Steven Wong is a curator, artist, and adjunct professor at Pasadena City College. He is currently a curatorial consultant for the Chinese American Museum (CAM), where he has also served as Interim Executive Director and senior staff curator. In 2012, he co-curated an exhibition at CAM as part of the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time initiative titled Breaking Ground: Chinese American Architects in Los Angeles which was the first comprehensive exhibit about a group of pioneering Chinese American architects whose designs continue to influence the landscape of Southern California. As part of the Getty’s 2017 Pacific Standard Time L.A./L.A., Steven is currently conducting research on the cultural production and visual arts of the Chinese diaspora in the Caribbean. As an artist, Steven has exhibited in museums and galleries in Los Angeles and New York. Steven holds a Masters in Asian American Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles and a Master in Fine Arts from the University of California.

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