1275 Minnesota St / Anglim Gilbert Gallery

Opening reception: Saturday October 28th | 4–7 pm 

Anglim Gilbert Gallery is pleased to present California Years, an exhibition of works by Martin Wong. This exhibition runs concurrently with his retrospective Martin Wong: Human Instamatic at the Berkeley Art Museum on view until December 10, 2017.

Featuring his calligraphy, ceramics and drawings, California Years explores Martin Wong’s formative years in California and his relationship with language. He fashioned his own language to portray his life as a flâneur in California through his poetry scrolls and texts. His process of continuous writing expanded beyond paper and into his paintings and ceramics. Wong self-identified as an aesthete with important literary figures from different generations and was an integral part of many artists’ lives, including the Nuyorican poets and writers, the Cockettes and the Angels of Light in San Francisco, New York graffiti artists and ceramicists in Eureka, California where he attended school at Humboldt State University.

Martin Wong was born in 1946 in Portland, Oregon and raised in San Francisco. He studied ceramics at Humboldt State University in 1964 and continued his studies in Afghanistan in 1970 where he participated in Mosque mosaic workshops. When he returned in 1971, he worked as a set designer for Bay Area queer performance groups, The Cockettes and The Angels of Light. He moved to New York City in 1978 after saving enough money as the “Human Instamatic” sketching and selling portraits in Eureka.

Wong died in San Francisco from an AIDS-related illness in 1999. His work can be found in museum collections, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, de Young Museum, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Whitney Museum of American Art. In 1998, he had a solo exhibition Sweet Oblivion at the New Museum and in 2013, the Museum of the City of New York featured his collection of New York graffiti art, sketchbooks and ephemera, City as Canvas: New York City Graffiti from the Martin Wong Collection.

The exhibition will take place in Gallery 200 at Minnesota Street Project.

Special thanks to P.P.O.W, Gary Ware, and The Martin Wong Foundation for their collaboration on this exhibition.