Celebrate artists of color: ‘Shattered Glass’ at Jeffrey Deitch gallery, ‘Chinatown’ at Bel Ami gallery

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The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is opening its doors again on April 1. Other galleries are open already — visitors just have to make appointments ahead of time.

Jeffrey Deitch gallery in Hollywood now has a new show called “Shattered Glass.” The group exhibition includes 40 artists of color who explore questions of power, surveillance, and justice.

Mario Ayala, Parallel Parking #2, 2021, Acrylic on canvas, 72 x 96 inches. Courtesy of Jeffrey Deitch Gallery.

One of the artists featured at the show is Fulton Leroy Washington (aka Mr. Wash). He received a life sentence for a nonviolent drug charge in 1997. President Obama commuted his sentence and granted him clemency five years ago. He often tells people’s stories by painting portraits, which often include tears streaming down the face and into the scene.

Meanwhile at the Bel Ami gallery in Chinatown, artist Ben Sakoguchi’s new show called “Chinatown” focuses on violence and discrimination against Asian Americans over the last few hundred years. Sakoguchi spent several years as a child in a Japanese internment camp in Arizona during World War II. 

This work all predates the shootings in Atlanta and the targeting of the Asian American Pacific Islander community during the pandemic. So what’s it like seeing the show right now? It reminds viewers that xenophobia isn’t something new, and points to this long history in the U.S.

Ben Sakoguchi, Chinatown, 2014, Acrylic on canvas, wooden frames (15 panels) 53 x 91 in (134.6 x 231.1 cm). Photo credit: Paul Salveson

The main work in the show is a large piece called “Chinatown,” which is made up of many small paintings hung to create a larger tableau. Some depict early American propaganda posters that talk about Asian Americans as disposable labor. Another focuses on racist stereotypes that are portrayed in film and media. 

“The central painting in this piece focuses on the Chinese Massacre in 1871,” says Lindsay Preston Zappas, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Contemporary Art Review Los Angeles. “This was a lynching [in LA] of 18 to 20 Chinese individuals in which no perpetrators were charged. So this really brings up so much of what we're experiencing today.”