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Enrico Isamu Oyama: Guest Blogger

I first met Aileen when she visited my project Aeromural at the Clocktower Gallery in 2013 with our friend and his baby.

The curator Aileen June Wang and I first met in New York in 2013 when she came to see my project Aeromural at Clocktower Gallery in New York City’s TriBeCa district. Since then, we have become really good friends. We had many  conversations about doing a project together. The first idea she raised was a two-person show with Japanese American visual artist Alex Kukai Shinohara. I was excited. She tried to find a venue for the show but it was not easy.

Then, Aileen was invited by a gallerist to propose a mural for a car wash with a large wall at the corner of West 24th Street and 10th Avenue in Chelsea, New York City’s gallery district. She and I worked on a proposal with a mock-up of the mural for the owner, but this didn’t happen neither.

The car wash building in the gallery district of New York City, for which we proposed a mural in 2014.

Aileen was invited by the NARS Foundation in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, to curate a group show that would have included my works, but soon after, she was offered the job as associate curator at the Beach Museum of Art. I remember the moment when she told me about her new job. We were having lunch together near the Museum of Modern Art. I was excited for her new journey.

Aileen’s farewell party in 2015 at the Brooklyn Museum’s Art Off the Wall event, arranged by Sharon Matt Atkins, Director of Curatorial Affairs (fifth from the left). Other participants from left to right: New York artist Babs Reingold; New York artist Margaret Murphy; Curator Midori Yoshimoto, who introduced Aileen to me; my wife Shihori and I.

From August to October of 2015, I did a residency program at Chelsea College of Arts in London. Right after I returned to New York in November, I got an email from Aileen when I was in Strand Book Store near Union Square to find some nice second-hand books on New York Writing Culture. I noticed right away that this message is about something special. Aileen was talking about a possibility of my solo show at the Beach Museum of Art. Somehow, I had a good feeling that this time it was going to happen. After a while, she confirmed that the show was officially on the museum’s calendar.

Our productive conversation and a few trials of doing a project together over the past few years resulted in something really exciting. I deeply thank Aileen for giving such an amazing opportunity to a young artist like me and everyone at the Beach Museum for their effort and labor to make this exhibition happen.

The sound installation piece Aeromural, which was the opportunity for me to meet Aileen four years ago, will be on display at the Mark A. Chapman Gallery, Willard Hall, Kansas State University as a part of my exhibition “Ubiquitous: Enrico Isamu Ōyama.” I hope everyone who visits the show can enjoy it more from knowing this little back story.

Oyama’s exhibition Ubiquitous: Enrico Isamu Oyama is on display in the Hyle Family Gallery at the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art from August 15 – December 23, 2017.

2 thoughts on “Enrico Isamu Oyama: Guest Blogger
  1. Reading Enrico’s blog made me realize just how wonderful a creative partnership our friendship has grown to be. I’m excited for Enrico to come to Kansas for his one-month residency next month. We will shake up Manhattan and K-State with some street energy! Come and see what we get up to!

  2. Congratulations to both of you Enrico and Aileen! I and Towa can’t wait to see how your collaboration has come to life in the city of Manhattan.

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