• Martin Wong: Self-Portrait, 1993; acrylic on canvas; 40 in. (diameter); © The Estate of Martin Wong, 1993, courtesy P.P.O.W, NY.

  • Mark Dean Johnson

  • Julia Bryan-Wilson

  • Sergio Bessa. Photo: Edward Yanisch

  • Marci Kwon

  • Charlie Ahearn. Photo: Vasily Konstantin

Roundtable Discussion: Martin Wong in San Francisco

This program explores both the formative and the final years of Martin Wong, who began and ended his career in California. Topics include his early work in ceramics; his posters and set designs for the counterculture gender-bending theater collectives the Cockettes and Angels of Light; his individualized calligraphy for his poetry, and his distinctive merging of writing and image; and his creative output after returning to San Francisco before his death from AIDS in 1999. 

Presenters are Mark Dean Johnson, professor of art at San Francisco State University and director of the Martin Wong Foundation, who also moderates; Julia Bryan-Wilson, professor of modern and contemporary art and director of the Arts Research Center at UC Berkeley, whose Fray: Art and Textile Politics includes a chapter about the Cockettes and Wong’s design work for them; Sergio Bessa, director of curatorial and education programs at the Bronx Museum of the Arts and scholar of concrete poetry; Marci Kwon, assistant professor in the Department of Art and Art History, Stanford University; and artist and filmmaker Charlie Ahearn, who introduces his 1998 film portrait of Wong, whom he knew personally.