“East on West” Exhibit (curating)

“East on West” opened March 1, 2019 at the office of Senator Scott Wiener in the State of California Building.  It showcased twenty-six San Francisco Bay Area artists who identify themselves as part of the Asian diaspora.  The artwork displayed at “East on West” reflected how artists of Asian origin from the Far East, Southeast Asia, South Asia, or the Pacific Islands contribute to enrich the arts and cultural diversity on the West coast.  The exhibit closes after April 26, 2019.

The artists included Martin Hsu, Anita Yan Wong, Junjun Li, Cindy Jian, Stella Zhang, Yao-pi Hsu, Cuong Ta, Nga Trinh, Cynthia e Tom, Salma Arastu, Rachel Maryam Smith, Xunzhi Sun, Usha Shukla, Kay Kang, Sophia Lee, He Yuanming, Jamie Cristal Joaquin, Athena Kim, Xiang Gao, Phillip Hua, Tsungwei Moo, Di Meng, Alice Wu, Anoushka Mirchandani, Olivia Ting, Kenshi Westover, and Cathy Lu.

– Joseph Abbati, Curator


“Artspeak” is about the observation of art manifested by the art jargon or tropes that try to define art for ourselves.  The descriptions in these paintings are culled from art reviews, PR releases, and biographies.  They have become so ubiquitous to the art world, that they lose meaning and represent a kind of hyperbole that can be applied to any artwork.

By placing these “artspeak” descriptions on top of the painting, it forces the viewer to engage with these narratives and question if they are meant to describe the painting in the background.  The viewer is seduced into making the same narrative for themselves unless they realize it’s all bullocks.

This is the price of entry for some in the art world.  The coded language which tries to elevate the meaning and value of what is being observed. 

“Artspeak: ‘The optical suggestions of the facture…'”, 2019, acrylic on canvas, 12″ X 36″
“Artspeak: ‘Bearing strong references to…'”, 2019, acrylic on canvas, 12″ X 36″
“Artspeak: ‘…these elusive and allusive forms, …'”, 2019, acrylic on canvas, 12″ X 36″


The “eARTh” exhibit I curated for the office of Senator Scott Wiener had it’s opening reception September 16th in the California State Office Building in conjunction with the Global Climate Action Summit.  Twenty-five artists participated by bringing work that reflected their concerns, reflections, and reactions about global warming.