Patty Chang: The Wandering Lake, 2009-2017 presents a groundbreaking project by Chang, a uniquely important artist who emerged from New York’s alternative art scene of the mid-1990s. From her tough-to-take, boundary-busting performance-video work that explored the complex psychic narrative behind often visceral solo performances, to more recent experimental films and lecture-performances, Chang has challenged the parameters of performance and its power as a storytelling vehicle. The Queens Museum will present her most ambitious work to date, The Wandering Lake (2009-2017), a project that redefines the role of artist, image, object and performance in the construction of narratives through an exhibition that integrates video projection, photography, sculpture, publication, and performance as one expansive body of work.
The Wandering Lake, 2009-2017 allows viewers to navigate through Chang’s personal, associative, and narrative meditation on mourning, care-giving, geopolitics, and landscape. The exhibition has been structured to replicate the complex way in which stories develop through geography, history, cultural mythology, fiction, and personal experience. While Chang’s multi-year project was in part inspired by turn-of-the-century colonial explorer Sven Hedin’s book The Wandering Lake (1938)—which tells the story of a migrating body of water in the Chinese desert—the project also chronicles the loss of Chang’s father as well as her pregnancy and the birth of her son.
An artist book has been conceived as an organically integral part of the project. The book conceptually mirrors the installation in the galleries and is comprised of a photo essay by Chang detailing her travels to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of Western China, the site of the wandering lake, and other aquatic locations, along with selected excerpts from the aforementioned literatures and other sources in relevant topics written by authors including Jill Casid, Herman Melville and Alice Walker. The book is co-published with Dancing Foxes Press, an independent publishing platform whose projects render ideas that emerge from the minds of artists, writers, and scholars, and are often driven by content and collaboration.
Patty Chang (b. 1972, San Leandro, CA) lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. Chang received a BA from the University of California, San Diego in 1994. Her work has been exhibited nationwide and internationally at such institutions as The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Guggenheim Museum, New York; New Museum, New York; BAK- basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, the Netherlands; the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Fri-Art Centre d’Art Contemporain Kunsthalle, Fribourg, Switzerland; Chinese Arts Centre, Manchester, England; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; M+ Museum, Hong Kong; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; and the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Sweden. Chang has received grants from Creative Capital, the New York Foundation for the Arts, Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Tides Foundation, and Guggenheim Foundation. Most recently, Chang participated in the 2016 Shanghai Biennale. She lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.
Image: Patty Chang, Installation view, Invocation for a Wandering Lake, Part I, 2015. Projection, 12:49 minutes, sound, dimensions variable. Courtesy the artist and BANK/MABSOCIETY. Photo by Hai Zhang
The presentation of the exhibition and publication Patty Chang: The Wandering Lake, 2009–2017 is made possible by The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation, the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation, and Artensee (Shanghai) Cultural Development Co., Ltd. Special thanks to our collaborators at BANK/MABSOCIETY. The Wandering Lake project was realized with grants to the artist from Creative Capital, Guggenheim Foundation, Headlands Center for the Arts, Massachusetts Cultural Council, and New York Foundation for the Arts.
Exhibitions at the Queens Museum receive significant support from Ford Foundation and the Charina Endowment Fund. Major funding for the Queens Museum is generously provided by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, Lambent Foundation, Booth Ferris Foundation, the Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc., and the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund.