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In Progress: Patricia Nguyen

Free With Admission
  • 4th-floor Lobby
    220 E Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
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Featured images

Patricia Nguyen, at the cusp of night, February 2018
Photo: John Lee

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Over the run of the exhibition Groundings, performers hold open rehearsals in which they create performances and physical objects that speak to the themes of the exhibition. Informal performances occur at 6 pm on Fridays and will be followed by an opportunity for artists to solicit feedback from assembled participants and audiences.

Patricia Nguyen explores the cartographies of refuge and containment through her series of meditations on detentions and deportations of Southeast Asian Americans. Nguyen sews herself into moving sculptures, experimenting with her own breath and white fabric, or khăn tang, used in Vietnamese death ceremonies to honor lives lost. The fabric’s measurements are based on the dimensions of various detention center cells across the US. The thread is from the flags of countries that have signed repatriation agreements with the US, which can expedite deportation. During this residency, Nguyen will imagine possibilities for transgression as her body slips across the cracks, fissures, and holes created by these materials, investigating gestures of resistance within and through conditions of capture.

In Progress is a series of public programs designed to give artists, thinkers, and curators a platform for developing new works and to give patrons a glimpse into the creative process. The exhibition Groundings is organized by Assistant Curator Grace Deveney and Associate Curator of Performance Tara Aisha Willis. It is presented in the Turner Galleries on the museum's fourth floor.

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About the Artist

Patricia Nguyen is an artist, educator, and scholar born and raised in Chicago. She earned her PhD in performance studies at Northwestern University. Her research and performance work is deeply shaped by critical refugee studies, transnational feminist studies, and black studies to investigate histories of violence, forced migration, inherited trauma, torture, and nation-building in the United States and Vietnam. She has published work in Women Studies Quarterly, Women & Performance, the Asian American Policy Review published by the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and The Methuen Drama Anthology of Modern Asian Plays. Nguyen has performed at the Nhà Sàn Collective, Mission Cultural Center, Jane Addams Hull House, Links Hall, Prague Quadrennial, Museum of Memory and Human Rights, and at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. She is also the cofounder and executive director of Axis Lab, a community-centered art, food, and design studio based in Chicago that focuses on inclusive and equitable development for the Southeast Asian community. Currently, she is a visiting assistant professor of Asian American Studies at Northwestern University.