The Body You Want

Installation of colorful fabric sculptures in a gallery space

    The Body You Want

  • WHEN

    April 14 – August 5, 2023

The gallery will be open Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, 2-6pm.

The exhibition will be closed on May 16th and July 4th.

For this exhibition, our main gallery is open to all ages. One installation room contains sexually explicit content and requires guests to be 18 years or older to enter. To see the full exhibit, we recommend reserving a ticket in advance to verify your age.

The Body You Want brings together six Asian and Asian American artists including Jaewon Kim, Jongbum Kim, Jason Vu, Eva Wu, Shawna Wu, and Yidan Zeng. Using different media such as textile, fabric, embroidery, text, video, and movement, the artists explore various positions of Asian queer bodies through the lens of geopolitical gender norms. 

The Body You Want foregrounds the limitations of conventional gender identities and advocates for a broader range of gender expression. The artists in the LGBTQ community face staggering rates of violence and abuse, and, due to the lack of systemic protections and institutional oppressions, often end up becoming the subject matter of their work as a means of survival. At times, these struggles overshadow the experience of queer bodies. The young and diverse practitioners in The Body You Want are interested in not only resisting oppressive social systems and sexist violence, but also taking the work beyond simply an expression of survival, moving to a state in which they fully thrive and exude joy and pleasure. The artists focus on exploring the present condition of queer bodies and how it activates different modes of living from interpersonal relationships to the wellness, ethnicity, citizenship status, and the way people retain culture and tradition. The exhibition reveals that various aspects of lives have become major preoccupations of the artistic practices of queer artists, demonstrating how the perception of the body and the perception of the world are intertwined. 

Gender is no longer a limit to the artists’ choices but is one of the components that helps them develop their personal interests. The interconnected nature of their work, underscored by different sociopolitical backgrounds and interests, enables the viewers to avoid the pitfalls of labeling an artwork merely with its maker’s gender identity, a reductive framework of the artist’s motivations and their artistic endeavors. The Body You Want invites viewers to better understand the nuanced perspectives of Asian and Asian American queer artists who strive for more diversity and acceptance.

This exhibition will open along with The Erotic Project. Opening reception: April 14th, 2023, 6-8pm.

The Body You Want is curated by Joyce Chung with curatorial assistance by Dominique Chua. 

The Body You Want is made possible with the support of William Penn Foundation, The Culture and Community Power Fund, Pennsylvania Council for the Arts, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and Ford Foundation.

The Community Advisory Board Members of the Asian Arts Initiative and the Fabric Workshop and Museum are gratefully acknowledged.

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