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Wong, Martin (1946-1999)  
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Since 2003, the Martin Wong Foundation has recognized his encouragement of emerging artists by providing scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students in painting and ceramics at Arizona State University, Humboldt State University, New York University, and San Francisco State University.


Since Wong's death, his paintings have been included in many exhibitions in North America, Asia, and Europe. Wong is now recognized as a pioneer of the cross-cultural perspectives that have become increasingly valued in the art world.

Wong frequently stated that he most wanted to be remembered for contributing to the heritage of gay male figurative painting established by Winslow Homer, Thomas Eakins, and other American painters of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Incorporating queer perspectives into poetic depictions of the Lower East Side and into exuberant images of San Francisco's (and sometimes New York's) Chinatown, Wong significantly broadened the scope of queer expression in American art and opened the way for new developments in the twenty-first century.

Richard G. Mann

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arts >> Overview:  American Art: Gay Male, Post-Stonewall

After Stonewall, American gay male art underwent a radical transformation as artists came out and began to treat gay themes openly and directly.

arts >> Overview:  Contemporary Art

Contemporary Art, which designates new currents in art since 1970, is identified with postmodernism; during this period an art addressing gay and lesbian identity emerged.

social sciences >> Overview:  New York City

Off and on over two centuries, New York City has also reigned as the capital of homosexual, transgender, and queer life in America.

arts >> Eakins, Thomas

Although his personal sexual orientation is uncertain, American painter, photographer, and teacher Thomas Eakins is solidly aligned in the history of art with a homophile sensibility, as expressed particularly in his celebration of the male form.

literature >> Genet, Jean

Jean Genet's work has left a powerful legacy to post-modernity and remains a provocation to questions of gay identity.

arts >> Haring, Keith

In his all-too-brief lifetime, gay American artist Keith Haring produced simple yet sophisticated images that reached a worldwide audience and transcended differences of race, nationality, gender, age, and sexual orientation.

arts >> Homer, Winslow

One of the most important American painters and printmakers of the second half of the nineteenth century, Winslow Homer created a distinctly American, modern classical style in which he celebrated male and female friendships.

arts >> Johns, Jasper

Known for his iconic yet cryptic paintings, acclaimed American artist Jasper Johns is a key figure in the transition from Modernism to Post-Modernism.

arts >> Leonardo da Vinci

One of the greatest painters in the history of art and an outstanding empirical scientist, Leonardo was haunted by his illegitimacy and rumors of homosexuality.

arts >> Wojnarowicz, David

The first gay American artist to respond to the AIDS crisis with anger and moral outrage, David Wojnarowicz used his art as a polemical tool with which to indict those he held responsible for the AIDS epidemic and to document his own suffering.


Blake, Nayland, Lawrence Rinder, and Amy Scholder. In a Different Light: Visual Culture, Sexual Identity, Queer Practice. San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1995.

Bruce, Jeffrey. "Red Brick and Chain Link: The Urban Romance of Martin Wong." International Review of African American Art 16: 4 (2000): 37-41.

Cameron, Dan, ed. East Village, USA. New York: The New Museum of Contemporary Art, 2004.

Cotter, Holland. "The Streets of a Crumbling El Dorado, Paved with Poetry and Desire." New York Times (June 5, 1998): E35.

"'The Eureka Years': Before Wong Wowed the Art World." Humboldt State University University Communications (September 3, 1999):

Frankel, David. "Martin Wong." Artforum 37.3 (October 1998): 117.

Harris, William. "Back from the Brink." The Advocate (May 26, 1998): 88.

Hill, Hoe. "Martin Wong at P. P. O. W." Art in America 89.9 (September 2001): 148-49.

Hillyer, Jenny. "Guide to the Martin Wong Papers." Fales Library and Special Collections, New York University (2002):

Lee, Anthony W. "Crooning Kings and Dancing Queens: San Francisco Chinatown and the Forbidden City Theater." Reading California: Art, Image, and Identity, 1900-2000. Stephanie Barron, Sheri Bernstein, and Ilene Susan Fort, eds. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 2000: 198-219.

Lee, Elisa. "Urban Artist Depicts Chinatown Through American Eyes." Asianweek 15. 10 (October 29, 1993): 1.

Lord, Catherine, and Richard Meyer. Art & Queer Culture. New York: Phaidon, 2013.

McCormick, Carlo. "Village Voice." Artforum 38.7 (March 2000): 22-25.

Ramírez, Yasmin. "Martin Wong." Fresh Talk/Daring Gazes: Conversations on Asian American Art. Elaine K. Kim, Margo Machida, and Sharon Mizota, eds. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003. 163-65.

Rubinstein, Raphael. "When Bad Was Good." Art in America 94.6 (June-July 2006): 83-87.

Schwabsky, Barry. "A City of Bricks and Mortar." Art in America 86.9 (September 1998): 100-105.

Smith, Roberta. "Martin Wong is Dead at 53; A Painter of Poetic Realism." New York Times (August 18, 1999): B11.

Taylor, Marvin J., ed. The Downtown Book: The New York Art Scene, 1974-1984. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006.

Trebay, Guy. "The Bricklayer's Art." Village Voice 43.21 (May 26, 1998): 30.

Valdez, Sarah. "Tales of Bohemian Glory." Art in America 93.6 (June-July 2006): 92-93.

Wong, Martin, Dan Cameron, and Amy Scholder. Sweet Oblivion: The Urban Landscape of Martin Wong. New Museum books, 1. New York: Rizzoli, 1998.

Zamora, Jim Herron. "Martin Wong, San Francisco Artist." San Francisco Examiner (August 22, 1999): D5.


    Citation Information
    Author: Mann, Richard G.  
    Entry Title: Wong, Martin  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2007  
    Date Last Updated August 11, 2013  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2007 glbtq, Inc.  


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