Matcha: Taking Up Space at the Asian Art Museum was a complete success! On Thursday, July 26th, 2012, 730 guests showed up to participate in the final Space Bi project. The turnout proved that you don’t have to be a celebrity chef or Balinese guitar virtuoso to draw a crowd. Local emerging artists have an audience too! It was great to see so much active talent and creativity under one roof!

Reunited! Me, Imin Yeh, and Jennifer Yin on top of the steps in Samsung Hall. Not too long ago, we all worked at the Asian Art Museum together.

On June, 23rd, Imin Yeh and I had a casual G-chat session about what I would be contributing to the event. She suggested that I make a new collage piece using the new Asian Art Museum logo as the format. My ongoing series of fantastical landscape collages are tied to the Asian Art Museum in many ways, so this particular body of work was the most appropriate for the Matcha project (see earlier post “Fractured Skies”).

“Quantifier”. The original pieces is roughly 14″x15″.

The piece took about two weeks to complete. Like my previous collages, I used cut photographs of Korean palaces to build the structures within my landscape. I also drew inspiration from narrative Japanese screens and Chinese landscape paintings. The vertical formats and unique perspectives that I saw in traditional painted works informed some of my artistic decisions. It was important that my work matched the Space Bi mission statement as well as the themes of the current  “Phantoms of Asia” exhibit.

So what’s the significance of the shape of this piece? When I was still an employee at Asian Art Museum my boss explained the logo concept to me. I was impressed by meaning behind the new brand. The universal quantifier (∀) is often informally read as “for all”. This was a loaded symbol which to me represented renewed relevance and inclusiveness. Marc Mayer, educator for public programs, told me that the boldness of the new logo was one of the reasons he was interested in working at the Asian Art Museum.

Our  original idea was to enlarge the finished collage and paste it on  the 7-foot “A” sculpture behind the admissions desk. Marc took care of the logistics of this undertaking. The costs of vinyl printing and installation were extravagant and I was honored that the museum even considered investing in the project. Ultimately, my artwork was not on brand and could not be used to cover the sculpture. The museum often uses imagery within the logo but the right diagonal bar of the quantifier is ALWAYS blank. I got this news on July, 17th, nine days before the event.

“if you build it, they will come”

So on top of coordinating 28 artists, handling all the PR for the event and screen printing bandanas and gift bags for guests and artists, Imin built a miniature version of the “A” sculpture! On July 23rd, she handed it over to me and I finished it with enlarged prints from Office Max and some acrylic paint.

On the evening of the event, I hosted a drop-in collage workshop where visitors could make their own version of the logo. Many thanks to the staff and volunteers that helped out at the table that night. Everybody made beautiful work and nobody was on brand.

Artist Nicole Harvey

Artist Anne Lester

Anonymous artist

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