back to

Practice on a new alternative to identity politics


For the New York Times, Barbara Pollack profiles Practice, a residency program and collective comprised of artists Cici Wu, Ho King Man and Wang Xu. Their first collective show is currently on view at 47 Canal, and they have some interesting things to say about thinking about identity politics collectively, rather than individually. (I also must admit that Pollack’s report comes off well-intentioned but at times a little condescending.) Check out Pollack’s report in partial below, in full via New York Times.

Transnational is the new buzzword in curatorial circles, aimed at artists whose cultural identity is fluid, a hybrid of the many countries where they have lived, studied and now work.

Cici Wu, Ho King Man and Wang Xu are three such artists, who were born in China, educated in the United States and now call New York their home. In 2015 they turned their shared studio in Chinatown into an ad hoc alternative art space and impromptu residency program called Practice. Run on a shoestring budget that’s covered by their income from part-time jobs, and with no website, Practice has attracted a word-of-mouth following among young international artists who, like the founders, lead nomadic lives.

“What we are trying to do is to find a new alternative to identity politics, to put our Chinese identity on a lower level and open ourselves to something more focused on the relationship between the three of us,” said Ms. Wu, a recent M.F.A. graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art who endearingly works artspeak into heartfelt statements about their mission.

Ms. Wu and her two partners now have a new opportunity to test their ideas, not as curators but as artists, at their first collaborative show, opening this week at the 47 Canal gallery. Working to the last minute to finish the installation, they are similar to many artists who have limited gallery experience, despite having run a space of their own.

“They are still in that very idealistic place in their practice and they have a very open-ended idea about what this exhibition experience can be,” said Margaret Lee, a founder of 47 Canal and its director.