The Warmth of Other Suns at the Phillips Collection
Jun
22
to Sep 22

The Warmth of Other Suns at the Phillips Collection

The Warmth of Other Suns: Stories of Global Displacement presents 75 historical and contemporary artists—from the United States as well as Algeria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Egypt, Ghana, Iraq, Lebanon, Mexico, Morocco, Syria, Turkey, UK, Vietnam, and more—whose work poses urgent questions around the experiences and perceptions of migration and the current global refugee crisis.

Through installations, videos, paintings, and documentary images, The Warmth of Other Suns  explores both real and imaginary geographies, reconstructing personal and collective tales of migration. Overlaying historical experiences of migration to and within the United States with the current plight of refugees around the world, the exhibition will bring together a multitude of voices and expose the universality of migration as an experience shared by many. The exhibition also focuses on how artists bear witness to both historical events and more subtle shifts in cultural landscapes.

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May
17
4:00 PM16:00

In the Shadow of the Future Critics' Pick in Artforum

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In the Shadow of the Future was featured in Artforum as the Critics’ Pick.

Fantasies of the past often live on as scattered material remnants in the present. The architectural installation in Hương Ngô’s “In the Shadow of the Future” refers to one such enduring vestige: the star-shaped terraced complexes of Ivry-sur-Seine, France. These communal housing structures, designed by Jean Renaudie and Renée Gailhoustet, in one of Paris’s so-called banlieues rouges (red suburbs), are represented in Ngô’s show by a wooden trilateral sculpture filled with plants. Within its frame, three monitors display a video of a cosmonaut loitering gingerly in the neighborhood, interacting with local residents from l’Union des Jeunes Vietnamiens de France and l’Union Générale des Vietnamiens de France, two unions representing Vietnamese people. The central character is based on Phạm Tuân, a Vietnamese fighter pilot, who became the first Asian space traveler in 1980, when he went into orbit as part of the Soviet Intercosmos program, an effort at “friendship diplomacy.” On the wall hangs a concrete relief of a newspaper clipping that touts the mission’s victory for the Communist Party of Vietnam. During the preceding decade, many Vietnamese refugees fleeing the Vietnam War settled in Ivry-sur-Seine.

As Ngô’s cosmonaut roams the commune, he represents not only Phạm’s phantom but also his legend. The character’s overt fictitiousness is mixed with grains of truth: His image is intercut with archival footage, including a commercial captioned “Mon quartier c’est ma vie” (My Neighborhood Is My Life), announcing the housing project’s mythic narrative. At times, singing from the unions' choir rehearsal provides an ethereal soundtrack. But rather than doleful reminiscence, Ngô’s reimagination of this episode in history encapsulates the interminable state of hope and displacement that characterizes the twentieth century’s communitarian visions.

— Minh Nguyen

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In the Shadow of the Future at 4th Ward Project Space
Apr
14
to May 12

In the Shadow of the Future at 4th Ward Project Space

Very excited to present this project, long-time in the making:

In 1979, Phạm Tuân, a Vietnamese fighter pilot, went into orbit with the Russian cosmonaut Victor Gorbatko as the first Asian in space as part of theSovietIntercosmos Program, a political project of “friendship diplomacy” to connect the newly-formed communist governments. In the same year, thousands left Vietnam after the war to escape persecution from the new communist government. Many landed in the commune of Ivry-sur-Seine, a banlieue on the outskirts of Paris that hosts one of the highest concentrations of Vietnamese in France, most settling as refugees from the Vietnam War. 

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Feb
13
to Mar 14

Taming a Wild Tongue at Vanderbilt University

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Excited to present recent work to the Vanderbilt community.

Deslenguadas. Somos los del español deficient. We are your linguistic nightmare, your linguistic aberration, your linguisticmestizaje, the subject of your burla.Because we speak with tongues of fire we are culturally crucified. Racially, culturally and linguistically somos huérfanos—we speak an orphan tongue.

– Gloria Anzaldúa, “How to Tame a Wild Tongue” 

Taming a Wild Tongue brings together recent bodies of work of Hương Ngô that span video, sound, works on paper, and publications that make material the oft invisible traces of living between languages. Drawing from performances, interviews, and archival research, Ngô lingers on moments ofuntranslatability as urgent reminders of displacement, colonial histories, and spaces of resistance. Invoking the work of Gloria Anzaldúa, Taming a Wild Tonguecomplicates the double bind of traduttore, traditoreby foregrounding the argot and lived experiences of diaspora communities in the production of knowledge.

The exhibition will feature a publication with two newly commissioned essays by translator Dương Mạnh Hùngand Alejandro T. Acierto, Mellon Assistant Professor of Digital Art and New Media in the Department of Art and Program of Cinema & Media Arts at Vanderbilt University.

This exhibition and its additional programming are made possible with the generous support and partnership with the Vanderbilt University Programs of Asian Studies and Cinema & Media Arts.

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Nov
11
4:30 PM16:30

3Arts Award

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Incredibly honored to receive a 3Arts Award. From 3Arts:

The 3Arts Awards express our gratitude to Chicago’s women artists, artists of color, and artists with disabilities for their indisputable contributions to the health and vibrancy of our city. Every year, ten artists who live and work in the six-county metropolitan area receive unrestricted $25,000 awards in dance, music, teaching arts, theater, and visual arts. Artists may use the award in any way that makes a difference to their lives and careers, including paying off debt, purchasing equipment, hiring collaborators, producing new work, and saving for the future.

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Sep
7
to Oct 20

Reap the Whirlwind at Aspect/Ratio

Opening reception: Friday, September 7th 5:00-8:00 pm

“She made him her slave with opium. She suffered his rage when there was nothing to smoke... she wanted to keep him all to herself – and did – until the day he died.”
- Jean Hougron, Reap the Whirlwind

“Now all is broken and my spirit is not longer haunted by these questions of marriage or maternity. Let’s speak no longer of the past! My only spouse, it is the Communist Revolution.”
- Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai

How were representations of the colonized female body introduced to the world and utilized to sustain the project of colonization? How do representations of these bodies afford or deny subjectivity, and how might we reconsider these women as political subjects seeking agency rather than flattened figures in history? In this exhibition of new work, Chicago-based artist Hương Ngô pairs early 1900s popular media from colonial Vietnam with her ongoing research of women involved in the concurrent anti-colonial movement. These piercing questions fueled her recent solo exhibition To Name It Is to See It (DePaul Art Museum, 2017) and are expanded upon in Reap the Whirlwind at Aspect/Ratio. While previous projects concentrated on the history of women who were a part of the resistance movement and their tactics of counter sousveillance, Reap the Whirlwind focuses on their foil–the hypervisible, exoticized concubine that was the subject of a number of novels and widely-circulated colonial postcards of the time.

Read more in the Press Release

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Mar
21
6:30 PM18:30

Smith College Museum of Art

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Happy to announce that The Voice Is an Archive is entering the permanent collection of Smith College Museum of Art, where it will be shared for generations to come. Such an honor for this work to be in conversation with the history and mission of this historic women's college. The video is included in the current exhibition To trace for to carry, curated by Emma Chubb.  

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Mar
13
to Aug 19

Being: New Photography 2018 at MoMA

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Absolutely floored and honored to be included in the biennial exhibition, New Photography, with the work The opposite of looking is not invisibility. The opposite of yellow is not gold, made in collaboration with Hồng-Ân Trương. The exhibition is curated by Lucy Gallun, Assistant Curator, Department of Photography, and includes the work of: 

  • Sofia Borges (Brazilian, born 1984)
  • Matthew Connors (American, born 1976)
  • Sam Contis (American, born 1982)
  • Shilpa Gupta (Indian, born 1976)
  • Adelita Husni-Bey (Italian, born 1985)
  • Yazan Khalili (Palestinian, born Syria, 1981)
  • Harold Mendez (American, born 1977)
  • Aïda Muluneh (Ethiopian, born 1974)
  • Hương Ngô and Hồng-Ân Trương (American, born Hong Kong, 1979; American, born 1976)
  • B. Ingrid Olson (American, born 1987)
  • Joanna Piotrowska (Polish, born 1985)
  • Em Rooney (American, born 1983)
  • Paul Mpagi Sepuya (American, born 1982)
  • Andrzej Steinbach (German, born Poland, 1983)
  • Stephanie Syjuco (American, born Philippines, 1974)
  • Carmen Winant (American, born 1983)
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Feb
27
to May 15

Camargo Foundation

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I am so excited to spend eleven weeks at the Camargo Foundation in their Core Program. It has been a dream of mine to return to the foundation since I was here in 2014 to begin the research that became To Name It Is to See It. I'm so thrilled to bring that project back to its origins, continue it further, and meet the other residents in this breathtaking location. 

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And, And, And – Stammering: An Interview
Feb
4
12:00 PM12:00

And, And, And – Stammering: An Interview

Please RSVP at the link below
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BRTWY8R

Hồng-Ân Trương and Hương Ngô’s performance of AND AND AND will take place on Sunday, February 4, 2018. from noon until 2pm.

Featuring: The Black Lunch Table (BLT) is an oral-history archiving project and an ongoing collaboration between North Carolina-based professor and artist Jina Valentine, and New York-based artist Heather Hart. The BLT’s primary aim is the production of discursive sites, wherein cultural producers engage in dialogue on a variety of critical issues. BLT mobilizes a democratic rewriting of contemporary cultural history by animating discourse around and among the people living it.

Interview/Interrogation as Performance of Citizenship.

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in(di)visible
Feb
3
to Apr 22

in(di)visible

(image) Lien Truong, … and still we banter with the Devil, Mutiny in the Gardenseries2017oil, silk, acrylic, 24k gold antique obi thread on canvas

Station Museum of Contemporary Art wishes to announce the opening of in(di)visible on Saturday, February 3rd, 2018 at 7p.m.; an exhibition examining immigration, the residual effects of war, and the implications of assimilation, integration, and invisibility for Asian Americans. From the intergenerational trauma of war and the impossibility of articulating what is lost between generations to the legacy of federal policies such as the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the first law implemented to prevent a specific ethnic group from immigrating to the United States, and Executive Order 9066 in 1942, which authorized the forced relocation and incarceration of between 110,000 and 120,000 people of Japanese descent, 62 percent of which were United States citizens.

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The Tip of My Tongue
Jan
26
to Mar 17

The Tip of My Tongue

  • Weinberg/Newton Gallery (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

The Tip of My Tongue is organized in partnership with the Chicago Literacy Alliance and aims to draw out the complexities of language as a tool not only for communication but also for connection, discovery, and growth. This group exhibition takes an expansive approach to the theme of literacy as it explores the many issues caught up in the web of words we each navigate, from notions of identity and belonging, to autonomy and self-expression. Through sound, color, book arts, and text, this group of works by six Chicago-based artists provides access points to a multiplicity of voices, ideas, viewpoints, and conversations.

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SAIC INTERLINK Visiting Artist Lecture
Nov
29
4:30 PM16:30

SAIC INTERLINK Visiting Artist Lecture

  • School of the Art Institute of Chicago (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

I have been invited to do graduate studio visits and give a lecture to the SAIC community through the INTERLINK program. For over 20 years,  INTERLINK is a program coordinated by MFA students – for – grad students at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC).

INTERLINK invites artists, curators, and writers to visit graduate students and to provide a lecture at SAIC. Interlink offers a more intimate experience than the larger format of the School’s Visiting Artist Program.

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New Women
Oct
29
3:00 PM15:00

New Women

New Women tells the story of three women working for a contemporary magazine called New Women and was originally written in 1944 by seminal Vietnamese playwright Vũ Đình Long. Although the play was seen as modernizing because of its French-influenced "théâtre-parlé" style, the roles fold back into a patriarchal, Confucian gender structure: the main female character is preyed upon by the male publisher of the magazine and one woman is pitted against another. Ngô uses the 20th century story to re-examine how patriarchy and capitalism operate in concert, yet invisibly, to exploit female-identifying bodies. In her dramatic reading, Hương Ngô adapted the play by omitting all of the male voices. This process leaves behind blank spaces and long pauses, opening the text to a contemporary reinterpretation. The reading will take place within a sculptural set designed by Ngô, using geometric costumes that she created.

Performers: Darling Shear, Karissa Murrell Myers, Marcela Torres, Brittany Harlin

Image Caption: Performance at Para Site, Hong Kong. Directors: David Borgonjon and Hera Chan. La Chiquitta as Tố Lan, Claudia Jim as Minh Nguyệt, Jes Fan as Song Quang, Hera Chan as Stagehand. Documentation by Kwon Lok Man.

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New Women
Oct
26
7:00 PM19:00

New Women

New Women tells the story of three women working for a contemporary magazine called New Women and was originally written in 1944 by seminal Vietnamese playwright Vũ Đình Long. Although the play was seen as modernizing because of its French-influenced "théâtre-parlé" style, the roles fold back into a patriarchal, Confucian gender structure: the main female character is preyed upon by the male publisher of the magazine and one woman is pitted against another. Ngô uses the 20th century story to re-examine how patriarchy and capitalism operate in concert, yet invisibly, to exploit female-identifying bodies. In her dramatic reading, Hương Ngô adapted the play by omitting all of the male voices. This process leaves behind blank spaces and long pauses, opening the text to a contemporary reinterpretation. The reading will take place within a sculptural set designed by Ngô, using geometric costumes that she created.

Performers: Darling Shear, Karissa Murrell Myers, Marcela Torres, Brittany Harlin

Image Caption: Performance at Para Site, Hong Kong. Directors: David Borgonjon and Hera Chan. La Chiquitta as Tố Lan, Claudia Jim as Minh Nguyệt, Jes Fan as Song Quang, Hera Chan as Stagehand. Documentation by Kwon Lok Man.

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And the state of emergency is also always a state of emergence.
Oct
6
to Oct 26

And the state of emergency is also always a state of emergence.

  • Chicago Artists Coalition (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

Opening Reception: Friday, October 6, 2017, 6-9 pm

And the state of emergency is also always a state of emergence. – Homi Bhabha, Black Skin, White Masks, Foreword to 1986 edition.

Life in a refugee camp consists of a home that is half of a four by six foot cubicle. – Donald Larson, director of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, "The Hong Kong Refugee Crisis: Suggestions for U.S. Policy Makers,” 1989.

In this exhibition of new work, Hương Ngô draws from the stories of her family’s year-long stay in Hong Kong refugee camps through the eyes of her siblings, who were children at the time. This shift in perspective reorients the field of possibilities and experience of the camp, complicating clear victim or hero narratives that dominate the retelling of a refugee experience and animating Homi Bhabha’s assertion, “And the state of emergency is also always a state of emergence.” Using as a formalist departure point the measurement, “a home that is half of a four by six foot cubicle,” which served as a critique of the treatment of Vietnamese refugees who were given the minimal amount of space in the camps, Ngô combines architectural sculpture with traces of her siblings’ experiences, which are at times poignant, humorous, and profound, but always expressing a full range of agency often denied to children and refugees alike.

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新女性 New Women: A Reading
Sep
11
10:30 PM22:30

新女性 New Women: A Reading

“Gossip is a fearful thing,” wrote Ruan Lingyu in her suicide note. A star of Shanghai’s leftist cinema in the 1930s, her fate was eerily prophesied by her last movie, “New Women.” Nine years later in 1944, seminal Vietnamese playwright Vũ Đình Long published Đàn bà mới or New Women, the story of a writer who is preyed upon by the male publisher of a women’s magazine. This cautionary tale links the pursuit of a career and modernist ideals of independence and self-determination to her downfall and disgrace.

These early 20th century stories give us an opportunity to reexamine today how the creative and intellectual labor of women interacts with patriarchy and capitalism. In this dramatic reading, Hương Ngô has adapted the play by omitting all of the male voices. This process leaves behind blank spaces and long pauses, opening the text to a contemporary reinterpretation. The reading will take place within a sculptural set fabricated by Ngô, using geometric costumes that Ngô designed.

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You Open Your Mouth Half Way
Sep
1
to Sep 30

You Open Your Mouth Half Way

"Not a single word allowed to utter until the last station, they ask to check the baggage. You open your mouth half way. Near tears, nearly saying, I know you I know you, I have waited to see you for long this long. They check each article, question you on foreign articles, then dismiss you." —Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Dictee

Hương Ngô makes her Milwaukee debut with the exhibition, "You open your mouth half way,” which draws from two ongoing bodies of work that examine diasporic identities, language, and matrilineal histories. The works, inflected by Ngô's archival research in France and Vietnam and her own biography, ask, “How do we remember that which is invisible or beyond language? Who benefits from our histories and the impossible, static versions of our identities?"

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White Light / Black Noise
Aug
27
to Sep 23

White Light / Black Noise

Opening reception: Sunday, August 27 from 2-5PM
EXPO Art After Hours: Friday, September 15 from 6-9PM

Taking on the notion of the backyard as territory of negotiating difference, Huong Ngo will create a site-specific sound installation for her solo exhibition at The Franklin that examines and archives the often invisible and unspoken aspects of growing up bilingually. For the project, Ngo interviewed nine participants, who grew up in bilingual or multilingual house- holds, delving into how language is bound up in their sense of identity, belonging, perceptions of the world, and places in geopolitical histories. Ngo guides the participants through workshops using bird calls as scores for performative uses of their languages.

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Beyond Snowden: Surveillance and the Construction of Difference
Jul
8
6:00 PM18:00

Beyond Snowden: Surveillance and the Construction of Difference

Edward Snowden's leak of NSA documents, revealing the widespread surveillance of US citizens, awakened a general public's awareness of the overreach of the government into private conversations and information. What was perhaps not as evident was how surveillance has been enacted on particular marginalized populations by the US government since the very beginnings of its institutions. The criminalization of immigrants and the subsequent rationalization for their surveillance by way of heightened scrutiny around their documentation or the call of vigilant citizenry, is but one example of how certain populations experience surveillance differently. How else might we begin to see more clearly the often layered connections between surveillance and the construction of difference and critically engage as concerned citizens when marginalized communities are affected? Join former LATITUDE resident Huong Ng in conversation on July 8 with Tia-Simone Gardner, Lars McKenzie, and Simon Spartalian, co-moderated by James Pepper Kelly, to examine aspects of intersectionality in relation to information systems, surveillance, image making, and digital identities.

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Deftly and Defiantly Decolonial
Jul
1
12:00 PM12:00

Deftly and Defiantly Decolonial

To Name It Is To See It was reviewed by New City's B. David Harley.

Important, heart-rending, and elucidating, Huong Ngô’s “To Name It Is To See It” feels like nothing less than conceptual magic.The artist’s largest museum presentation to date, it is a show which paradoxically manages to be both freighted with import—themes as heavy as dying stars—and suffused with information but minimal in its presentation. It is approachable and democratic in its design and delivery, a light expression of unbearable being, a funeral shroud or flag. A materially rich distillation of Ngô’s research into the life of 1930s Vietnamese anti-colonial activist Nguyen Thi Minh Khai—done in France and Vietnam—the show both presents the challenges faced by Minh Khai, whipsawed by the colonial government and by the sexism of her rebellious peers, as well as echoes, via themes of spying and surveillance, colonialism and feminism, issues which continue to suffuse the global atmosphere today.

Read more

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In Search of Miss Ruthless
Jun
30
to Sep 8

In Search of Miss Ruthless

Dear Miss Ruthless,

We have been chasing the stories of diasporic pageant queens. There is something ruthless about their stories, something that recalls the sentimentality of Chinese culture. Allow us to paraphrase Rey Chow in writing that sentimentality is an attachment premised on adaptation and resilience. Romance that endures. We are building a community to welcome you. And really, a community is just a group of people who are capable of holding a pageant. The stage has been set. 

Yours truly,
Hera Chan and David Xu Borgonjon, Curators

Press Release

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This is what intersectional feminist art looks like
Jun
21
2:55 PM14:55

This is what intersectional feminist art looks like

Review for To Name It Is To See It and Vessels of Geneology in the Chicago Tribune by Lori Waxman.

The Vietnamese language does not have a word for feminism.

But the country did and does have feminists, including Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, a revolutionary leader of the Indochinese Communist Party in the 1930s. Her elusive figure lurks everywhere and nowhere in "To Name It is to See It," a solo exhibition by Huong Ngo upstairs at the DePaul Art Museum.

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