Impressions, Make Things (Happen), The Eve Of..., Travelogue

c3:initiative Residency Day 12 Update

Some things I’ve done, thought about, and seen in the first 12 days of a 17-day residency in Portland, OR.

On Saturday, I installed two pieces from The Eve Of… in the window project space at PDX Contemporary, with a little help from JZ, DH, Caitlin, and James. It’s viewable 24/7 at the corner of NW Flanders and NW 9th.

It’s a satellite of the larger exhibition at Portland ‘Pataphysical Society (‘Pata), which opens Thursday (First Thursdays) from 6-9pm, at NW Everett and NW 6th.

The exhibition at ‘Pata will include new works—four large pieces of handmade cotton rag paper, which I made with the tutelage of Jenn Woodward at the Pulp and Deckle paper making studio thanks to support from c3:initiative. The paper is created for display in the ‘Pata windows, which will also be viewable 24/7.

Make Things (Happen) PSU Assembly brochure page. Illustrations of activities by Kari Marboe & Erik Scollon, Piero Passacantando, and Tattfoo Tan.

Make Things (Happen) PSU Assembly brochure page. Illustrations of activities by Kari Marboe & Erik Scollon, Piero Passacantando, and Tattfoo Tan.

Last Wednesday, I had a chat about Make Things (Happen) in PSU Assembly. It was sponsored by c3:initiative and located at Portland ‘Pataphysical Society. I invited Make Things (Happen) participating artists Lexa Walsh and Julie Perini to present their activity sheets and have a dialogue. Lexa asked me how I felt about shared authorship—I am interested in exploring it, and talked about the creative freedom I tried to offer artists, since I wasn’t able to offer remuneration. This spurred an audience member to ask Lexa and Julie what motivated them to participate. Lexa mentioned that this was a easy extension of an existing project, and Julie explained it’s hard to think of who would fund projects to fight white supremacy.

We also talked about if I’ve met resistance to my work about happiness, and I mentioned how much inspiration I take from Susan O’Malley‘s commitment to make art that is whole-heartedly positive. (At Harvester, I talked about how people can easily underestimate the amount of courage that making art about happiness can require.) Another person asked about where else I’d like to see this project, which reminded me of the last message I got from Susan:

I really think it would be amazing to see this project at the airport or library or DMV or city hall or some kind of public space…..

She was so smart about curation and public space. I should heed her words. These are just one more example of so many bits of wisdom she shared.

Thanks to everyone who attended, and who made it happen: Julie, Lexa, Shir, Erin, Josephine, David, Harrell, and many more.

I made paper before, once, in Nance O’Banion’s Bookmaking class as an undergrad. My memory of it pretty hazy, except for an image of the sheet collapsing as I unsuccessfully tried to “kiss” the wet paper pulp off the mold and onto the drying screen.

A few thoughts about paper making:

It’s technical, but much of it, like in printmaking, is by feel. You screw it up to know where it goes wrong, and then by experience feel when it’s right. For example, you figure out how much retention aid is enough, which you can feel in the softness of the water.

It’s physical. I made four 43×56″ sheets, each comprised of twelve sheets from a ~15×15″ mold. The water’s surface tension provides a good amount of resistance when you pull the mold. You sometimes have to lift and pour big buckets (30-40 pounds). A backache after the first day was all the reminder I needed to use my core and legs on subsequent days.

Oddly, I think having done vinyl signage helps. Though the materials couldn’t be more opposite in many ways—natural vs. plastic, historical or niche vs. ubiquitously modern—the processes share releasing a fragile sheet from one surface to another. It’s about timing and pressure.

It’s pretty magical. There’s no binder. The fibers just stick together. Because it’s very physical and intuitive, it’s a great process for finding flow. Jenn is a great teacher—very knowledgeable, patient, and no-stress. Pulp & Deckle‘s classes and private workshops are affordable. Recommended!

Time management. You might think that artists who are also art handlers will take less time to prepare for and install an exhibition. This is not necessarily true.

1. We can nerd out on details. I built a plinth for a work that usually sits on the ground, and a box for A/V that could just sit a shelf. I’m also sewing light blocks for ‘Pata’s clerestory windows and sheer window coverings to layer behind the paper.

2. It takes time. I underestimated how long it would take me to build boxes and pack my work to ship out here. Yet I work on crews where we do that for several days or weeks at a time. The scale of my work is smaller; but still, in this case, it included two large boxes the sizes of doors.

3. Because you never know when you’ll need to problem-solve. What can go wrong when you’re traveling, using local sources, unfamiliar tools, and new spaces? The patience and generosity of friends and strangers go a long way.


Bathing in the afterglow of the Postcards from America opening at Newspace Center for Photography; it was pretty cool to see dudely big-deals like Alec Soth and Jim Goldberg mixing it up with local subjects (a retiree, a girl named Cherish, a physical therapist who served vets, an advocate for Iraqi refugees) and PSU Social Practice students. The event was part of PSU Assembly. Susan Meiselas‘ project to raise the visibility of VOZ, a worker-led organization to empower immigrant workers is a smart, worthy way to use photography in social practice; limited edition screenprint posters are available to raise funds for printing. It’s super cute and signed by the Portland Postcards from America photogs. I was tempted. I previously thought Magnum was just a hotshot agency, but in a recent talk at Portland Art Museum, they explained that it’s a co-op run by photographers for photographers, and had to find new ways to support the work they want to do.

Yale Union/YU Contemporary‘s new exhibition by Willem Oorebeek. We were only there for a few minutes between engagements, and my largest impressions are of the space (a huge renovated industrial space not unlike Mass MOCA or DIA:Beacon, with beautiful light) and the architect-made exhibition design (2×4 framing on 12″ centers, very selectively sheathed). There were reproductions from magazines, and sheets of glass over rubber flooring with round nubs intended to read as pixels, though I thought of LEDs. There were black-on-black prints (black lithographic prints over a variety of mediums) that had optical or durational effects—you had to stand right in front of them to see them, which was engaging in how it forced an intimate relationship with the image within a massive space.

Woodwork. Borrowed tools from a suspension-tree-house maker named Devan. A 12″ compound miter saw, Skil saw, and compressor and nailer (yes!). Nice blades, smooth sailing. I forgot to pick up clamps, though, so I nailed a 1×2 as a guide wherever I needed it. It hit 92ºF and the patio umbrella was a savior.


Make Things (Happen), News, The Eve Of...

Residency and Exhibition of The Eve Of… and a Talk about Make Things (Happen)

Christine Wong Yap, Mirror #1, 2014, wood, asphalt-based coating, light, acrylic, mirror, 13.625 x 13.625 x 5.5 inches

Christine Wong Yap, Mirror #1, 2014, wood, asphalt-based coating, light, acrylic, mirror, 13.625 x 13.625 x 5.5 inches

I’m in Portland, OR…

…exhibiting The Eve Of… at the Portland ‘Pataphysical Society and in the windows at PDX Contemporary…

…developing new work for the show in a residency at c3:initiative (and using the Pulp and Deckle paper making studio)….

…and talking about Make Things (Happen) with guests Julie Perini and Lexa Walsh in PSU’s Assembly.

Join me!

May 20–June 6, 2015

June 4–July 17
Exhibition: The Eve Of…
Portland ’Pataphysical Society (PataPDX)
625 NW Everett St #104

May 30–June 27
Window Project Satellite Exhibition : The Eve Of…
PDX Contemporary Windows, 925 NW Flanders

June 4, 6–8pm
Opening Reception
at both ‘PataPDX and PDX Contemporary

Wednesday, May 27, 8-10 pm
PSU Assembly
A discussion about Make Things (Happen) (in partnership with PSU MFA in Art & Social Practice’s Assembly 2015). Features guest dialogists and Make Things (Happen) participating artists Julie Perini and Lexa Walsh. At Portland ‘Pataphysical Society. Limited seating.


The Making of The Eve Of... Self-initiated Residency and Exhibition, a timeline flow chart after Alfred H. Barr, Jr.

Christine Wong Yap, The Making of The Eve Of… Self-initiated Residency and Exhibition, 2014. A timeline flow chart after Alfred H. Barr, Jr. [PDF]

Produced for the Open City/Art City panel, SOS ARTISTS: Strategies of Survival, curated and moderated by Christian L. Frock, and held at YBCA on October 4, 2014.

Meta-Practice, The Eve Of...

The Making of The Eve Of… Self-initiated Residency and Exhibition, a timeline flow chart

News, The Eve Of...

10/4: The Eve Of… as Survival Strategies at Open City/Art City

The making of The Eve Of…, in diagrammatic and GIF forms.

The Making of The Eve Of... Self-Initiated Residency and Exhibition.

The Making of The Eve Of… Self-Initiated Residency and Exhibition.

Here’s a tiny teaser of a detailed diagram on the making of The Eve Of…; along with a narrated video, it’ll be presented this Saturday at Open City/Art City at YBCA. I’ll be there in spirit, but not in person. It’s too bad, as my other panelists, assembled by the formidable Christian L. Frock, are fantastic artists for whom I have tons of respect.

SOS ARTISTS: Strategies of Survival

Curated and Moderated by Christian L. Frock, Independent Writer, Curator and Educator
This interactive session will present strategies for developing self-made public opportunities for artists at all stages of development, with an emphasis on what is possible through autonomy and collaboration. In addition to the live event, documents relevant to the discussion will be available to freely view and share online at


  • Christian L. Frock, writer and curator, Invisible Venue: On creating public platforms through unconventional organizational partnerships
  • Jonn Herschend, artist and co-publisher, The Thing: On recent high profile commercial projects and creating equitable corporate collaborations with integrity
  • Ernest Jolly, artist and co-curator, ArtComplex, Oakland: On ArtComplex’s experimental exhibition model and creating opportunities within transitional real estate
  • Favianna Rodriguez, artist and activist, on producing multiples and direct studio sales to raise funds to advance larger projects
  • Stephanie Syjuco, artist and John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Visual Arts Fellow: On self-publishing her successful Guggenheim application, and transparency as a mode of working amidst competition
  • Christine Wong Yap, artist: On the development of her self-initiated New York residency and solo exhibition, and building new models of production in public spaces

More info at

That’s the brains of the thing. Here’s the behind-the-scenes braun:

The Eve Of... installation and deinstallation.

The Eve Of… installation and deinstallation.

The Eve Of...

Some questions in advance of The Eve Of… Public Forum on 9/24

Mirror #1, 2014, wood, asphalt-based coating, light, acrylic, mirror, 13.625 x 13.625 x 5.5 inches / 34.6 x 34.6 x 14 cm

Mirror #1, 2014, wood, asphalt-based coating, light, acrylic, mirror, 13.625 x 13.625 x 5.5 inches / 34.6 x 34.6 x 14 cm

How is art experience intellectualized, and how is it intuited?

How are art- and exhibition-making guided by research? By emotions?

What are the poetics of perception?

How do modes of embodiment—embodied cognition, phenomenology, and the materializing of ideas or emotions into art objects—present paradoxes? How do we embrace contradictions?

Who is the disappearing artist? Who is the ego-less agent?

What’s so wrong with sentiment?

Why is mortality a thing that must be “confronted”? Who does it attract? Why?

How do you practice tolerating uncertainty?

What space is left for introspection?

What is the agency of an artist? How do we shape the art worlds we’d like to participate in?

On Wednesday, September 24, join a public forum featuring guest dialogist Andria Hickey, Public Art Fund Associate Curator, in conversation with artist Christine Wong Yap to discuss themes in and around The Eve Of…, a solo pop-up exhibition exploring “the disassembled self on the eve of re-organization.” You’re invited to participate in the dialogue with questions, comments, and provocations.

The Eve Of… Public Forum
Wednesday, September 24, 7–9 pm
Falchi Building, 31-00 47th Avenue, Long Island City, NY 11101 [Google Map]
7 to 33rd/Rawson Station; G/E to Court Square; N/Q/R to Queensboro/Queens Plaza
More info:

Free and open to the public. Wheelchair accessible. Refreshments will be served.

The Eve Of… is supported by an Individual Artists grant from the Queens Council on the Arts with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. 

News, The Eve Of...

The Eve Of… is now on view!

With yesterday’s opening reception, The Eve Of… residency is officially over, and the exhibition is open to the public.

BZ & NM viewing Doorway, 2014, wood, vinyl, asphalt-based coating, lights, stands, gels, door: 82.5 x 33.5 x 5.5 inches / 210 x 85 x 14 cm

BZ & NM viewing Doorway, 2014, wood, vinyl, asphalt-based coating, lights, stands, gels, door: 82.5 x 33.5 x 5.5 inches / 210 x 85 x 14 cm. See more photos.

The changeover

The raw space that was my studio in August has been converted into a pop-up gallery. Though I last posted that changeover tasks are fun, I started running of steam this past week. The works were done, the walls painted, and the floors epoxied or sealed, but I still lots to do. And much involved climbing a too-short 8-foot ladder in a 18-foot-high space….

I figured out which works to include and how to place it in the oddly-shaped space with help from OM, especially his sage advice not to fight the architecture. I paid repeat visits to Artist and Craftsman Supply (a cool employee-owned business recently opened in LIC) for paper and tape to minimize light coming through the numerous windows. I also lit the works after multiple trips to get extension cords and light bulbs (so easy to take for granted at galleries) since only half the the space has working electrical outlets. I finally used some lighting gels—purchased for experimentation that didn’t go anywhere—to balance out the color of different light sources. And I spent a late night putting finishing touches on the space, including creating a storage closet (its small footprint relative to the amount of artworks, tools, and furniture it holds is a weirdly satisfying bonus).

Installation photos

I shot documentation photos with the assistance and good conversation of MH. I encourage you to visit the show in person, as many of the works allude to physical embodiment and are best experienced in person, but you can see photos if you’re unable to visit.

A journey self-started, but not traveled alone

Thanks to intrepid supporters who braved yesterday’s rain to attend the opening reception. I also want to send a big THANK YOU to the Queens Council on the Arts, the Falchi BuildingWhole Foods, and individuals who contributed guidance and assistance: Susan O’MalleyMel Day, Katie Tuss, Paul Kelterborn, Falchi Building staff, Gina Mazzone, Melissa Smith, Melissa Rachleff/Bronx Museum of the Arts’ Artists in the Marketplace, David Wallace, Maria Hupfield, Nyeema Morgan, Ohad MeromiHank Willis Thomas, and Michael Yap.

Now on view

The exhibition continues through 9/24.

Join me at a public forum featuring guest speaker Andria Hickey, Associate Curator, Public Art Fund
Wednesday, September 24, 7–9 pm

Or visit during gallery hours:
Wednesday, September 17, 12–3 pm
Saturday, September 20, 1–5 pm
Or by appointment by emailing theeveof @

Falchi Building, 31-00 47th Avenue, Long Island City, NY 11101 [Google Map]
Four blocks from the 7 train at 33rd/Rawson Station; also walkable from the E and G at Court Square, or the N, Q, or R at Queensboro/Queens Plaza.

The Eve Of... Studio/Pop-up Gallery (During: Today)
The Eve Of...

The Eve Of: Residency Day 32 Update

After spending all August working on The Eve Of…, I’m finally feeling confident and relaxed.

The residency started off a little rough—I was antsy to secure a space yet stay productive. So I made a production schedule. It sounds a little crazy and antithetical to the creative process, and sometimes it was. But I think it was worth it. For example, when I moved into the larger space, I finished all my dust-making (woodworking and build-outs) first, painted the things that need to be painted at the same time, and then cleaned up for framing and finishing static-y vinyl projects. 

Though, maybe crazy-making is part of the deal when you’re staging your own exhibition in a pop-up gallery. As stressful as keeping a schedule was, it’d be worse if I didn’t keep one. Case in point: I thought the dust on the concrete floor was drywall leftover from a prior demolition. But it turns out it’s the floor itself, or rather, mastic, which I had been pulverizing with every step. I have to seal the concrete, and find an additional three days of drying time, as I was already planning to paint half the floor where it was tiled in lavender-and-purple checkerboard.

Thankfully I was able to wrap up art-making and get a head start on gallery changeover. You could say I’m transitioning from artist-in-residence to preparator-in-residence. Some artists find being their own technical labor tedious or demeaning, but I can’t think of a happier use of these skills than in the service of my own vision. 

Plus, it’s a nice change of pace. Painting is calming, because it’s finite. With studio projects, I never know when I’m going to be done. But with paint, you can only do so much per day—you couldn’t schedule more. Wrapping up today’s painting and heading home before 6pm was a nice treat.   

I just finished the walls, and am relieved the color works. (Wet, it looked like ivory in the pan, grey on the walls, lavender in the daylight, putty-ish under fluorescents, and stripe-y and beady all over! But dried, it’s a nice, flat, smooth, soft. I love it.) I also primed the checked tiles. With the Willy Wonka tiles covered, the space feels cleaner, bigger, and more like a gallery already.

The Eve Of.. Studio/Pop-up Gallery (Before)

The Eve Of… Studio/Pop-up Gallery (Before)

The Eve Of.. Studio/Pop-up Gallery (During: Today)

The Eve Of… Studio/Pop-up Gallery (During: Today)


I’ve habituated to turning up at this studio everyday—and, I suppose, being a full-time artist in NYC, something I’d only previously imagined. I better enjoy it while it lasts, which is not much longer….

The Eve Of...

The Eve Of… NYC Residency pilot program

Surprisingly, I’ve achieved a residency’s studio focus and solitude… even in NYC. 

I was nervous that staying at home in NYC would allow too many distractions for this to be as productive as an overnight residency. But many things have helped to shift my experience, and are pretty effective in combination.

Staying really local. I’ve been keeping it Queens—I’ve only left the borough twice in the past three weeks: home, studio, repeat.

Yet changing it up. The studio is in a part of LIC I’d never been to before. It’s been neat to eat lunch and people-watch in the public courtyard, and patronize different mom and pop stores. I’ve also been riding my bike instead of taking the subway; it makes me feel like I set the rhythm of my day.

It’s August. It helps that NYC’s emptied out; even my emails have quieted down.

Cleared calendar. My obligations have been postponed and my priorities are crystal clear. It’s great not having to deliberate about squeezing in anything else.

Creature comforts. Unlike at away-residencies, there’s no learning curve in the logistics of everyday life—sleeping, grooming, nourishment, etc. I sleep in my own bed, cook in my own kitchen, and don’t have to miss my husband.

Disconnecting: deactivating my FB account. It became a pleasureless addiction. I had some withdrawal the first two weeks, but it holds little appeal now. It’s shocking how habitual it became: how easily I’ll mindlessly point my browser there, mentally compose status updates that are ultimately trivial, or desire a crowd-sourced solution instead of trusting my own opinions and decisions. These days, I’m so busy and then so tired, there’s little room for anything else, and I can’t imagine how much time I squandered onscreen. I will probably return—but keep my usage restricted.

Enduring my own mind. I’ve spent at least eight hours of every day alone in the studio. I was rusty at the beginning, when my overactive, lazy-way-out squirrel-brain pulled me in too many directions. But now I’m a bit more adept, staying on task and pushing through when I’m tired.

I can tolerate a lot of solitude but it’s also making me feel a bit starved for socialization. I take this as a good sign, as I remember this feeling from other residencies I’ve done. I’m starting to have enough work to show others, so I’m looking forward to scheduling studio visits soon.