Ctrl+Alt+Yellow

curated by Janet Oh


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California is home to the largest population of individuals of Asian descent in the U.S. From the galleon ships that brought sailors to the Americas from the Philippines in the 16th century to the contract laborers who arrived from China in the 1850s, many groups from Asia immigrated to escape hardship, war, or colonization, only to endure policies of exclusion, indentured servitude, racist policies, and negative stereotyping in their new home. Today, violence and prejudice continues in the form of scapegoating around the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ctrl+Alt+Yellow convenes Bay Artist artists with Asian lineage who imagine alternative modes of existence. They employ radical modes of narration, exemplifying how communities can take charge of their own stories to re-construct their own understanding of the past, the realities of the present, and future possibilities.

Through media spanning video installation, print, and photography, six contemporary artists conceptualize Asian American identity through humor, movement, and intergenerational dialogue. Theresa Hak Kyung Cha employs language and mythology to examine the discomfort of one's own "foreign" language(s). Zihan Jia explores a script created by Qing women—the only known language created and used exclusively by women. Genevieve Quick employs science fiction narratives while Taro Hattori invites people of Asian descent to share their stories and experiences to foster understanding. For You Performance Collective engages AAPI elders to amplify their voices and stories, and Vasudhaa Narayanan's work meditates on what it means to build durational relationships with family and self.

Special thanks to the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA), the Theresa Hak Kyung Cha Memorial Foundation, Trip Callaghan, and B4BEL4B.
 
Janet Oh is a Bay Area-based visual and performing arts curator and occasional musician. She earned her BA at Northwestern University and MA at Columbia University. Currently she is Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art and Programs at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.





Theresa Hak Kyung Cha



For You Performance Collective (Erika Chong Shuch and Ryan Tacata)



Taro Hattori

Taro Hattori, Treading a Journey, 2021, Installation with projected video and sound, Dimensions variable.
 



Zihan Jia

Zihan Jia, Love Letter, 2021, Digital images, 63 x 49 in.
 



Vasudhaa Narayanan

Vasudhaa Narayanan, 550 Srinidhi, 2019, Video, 5:18 min.
 

 



Genevieve Quick

Genevieve Quick, Planet Celadon: Operation Completed, 2020, Single-channel video, 6:07 min.
 

Installation Images

Installation view.
 

Vasudhaa Narayanan, Amma, 2019, Installation view.

For You Performance Collective and Vasudhaa Narayanan, Installation view.

Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Aveugle Voix, 1975, Installation view.

For You Performance Collective, The Great AAPI Elder Print Off, 2021, Installation view.

Taro Hattori, Treadling a Journey, 2021, Installation view.

Taro Hattori and Vasudhaa Narayanan, Installation view.

Zihan Jia and Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Installation view.

Brochure Images

Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Aveugle Voix, 1975, Black and white photograph (exhibition copy) of performance at 23 Bluxome Street, San Francisco, 10 x 8 in. (detail)

Taro Hattori, Treadling a Journey, 2021, Wood, metal, sewing machine, video, sound, 5 x 8 x 4 feet

 

Vasudhaa Narayanan, Appa from the series Kutty the Youngest One, 2019, Photograph, 40 x 54 in.

 

Genevieve Quick, Planet Celadon: Operation Completed, 2020, Single-channel video, 6:07 min.

 

Zihan Jia, Love Letter, 2021, Digital image, 63 x 49 in.

 

apexart’s program supporters past and present include the Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, the Buhl Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Spencer Brownstone, the Kenneth A. Cowin Foundation, Epstein Teicher Philanthropies, The Greenwich Collection Ltd., William Talbott Hillman Foundation/Affirmation Arts Fund, the Fifth Floor Foundation, the Consulate General of Israel in New York, The Puffin Foundation, the Trust for Mutual Understanding, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, public funds from Creative Engagement, supported by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and administered by LMCC, funds from NYSCA Electronic Media/Film in Partnership with Wave Farm: Media Arts Assistance Fund, with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, as well as the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.