Jump to content

The Propeller Group

MCA Chicago



The Propeller Group—an artist team made up of Phunam, Matt Lucero, and Tuan Andrew Nguyen, and based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam—blurs the boundaries between fine art and media production, in much the same way that this publication blurs the boundaries between a traditional exhibition catalogue and an artist book. The catalogue features expository essays by curators Naomi Beckwith and Cesar Garcia, as well as contributions by each of the members of The Propeller Group: Tuan pens an obituary for the group that pays homage to Vietnamese funereal celebrations, Phunam shares an astrological reading that similarly honors the cultural legacy of Vietnam, and Lucero creates a travelogue that records the group’s recent exploration of the natural beauty of Papua New Guinea.

This is the first scholarly treatment on The Propeller Group, published on the occasion of the group’s exhibition at the MCA. The exhibition presents a number of multipart projects, comprised of videos and related objects, from the past five years for the first time since the group was formed in 2006.

Table of Contents

1 The Mythology of Dying by Tuan Andrew Nguyen
11 Foreword
13 Directors’ Acknowledgments
14 Acknowledgments
16 If All Goes as Planned by Naomi Beckwith
30 Project: The Guerrillas of Cu Chi
38 Project: AK-47 vs. M16
46 Project: The Dream
54 Project: Fade In: Ext. Storage – Cu Chi – Day . . .
62 The Year of Our Rebirth by Phunam
70 Project: Television Commercial for Communism
78 Project: AK-47 vs. M16, The Film
86 Project: The Living Need Light, The Dead Need Music
94 I Can’t Imagine Ever Wanting to Be by Cesar Garcia
104 Biographies and Exhibition History
107 Contributors
108 Exhibition Lenders
109 Captions and Credits
112 The Three Californias by Matt Lucero