James Fuentes Press #6: Oscar yi Hou

James Fuentes Press #6: Oscar yi Hou

James Fuentes Press

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Melding critical theory, political critique, poetry, and memoir, this publication focusing on the work and writings of Oscar yi Hou weaves together a meditation on language, relation, and identity. Offering both scholarly and personal explorations of the artist’s oeuvre, yi Hou compels us to ask: What is art after representation?

Containing new essays from Simon Wu, Xin Wang, and Kate Wong, alongside a conversation between yi Hou and fellow artist Amanda Ba, this collection of texts illuminates the expansiveness of yi Hou’s practice. A collection of color plates surveying yi Hou’s artistic practice anchors the center of the book.

Represented in a series of chapters published here for the first time, yi Hou’s own writings entwine poetic and critical reflections on language, queerness, race, relation, and ontology. Intertextual in nature, these text pull from a web of citation, referencing theorists such as Gilles Deleuze, Rey Chow, Roland Barthes, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Trinh T. Minh-ha, Édouard Glissant, and José Esteban Muñoz.

Edited by Morgan Becker
Published 2022 by James Fuentes Press
Designed in collaboration with Other Means, Brooklyn

Product details


255 pages

7 x 4.25 x .88 in.

ISBN 978-1-7365415-6-2

Meet the artist

At a time of heightened violence against Asian communities across the United States, Oscar yi Hou questions what it means to be “Asian American” and who is considered “American.” Oscar yi Hou: East of sun, west of moon, named for a poem by the artist, comprises eleven of his recent figurative paintings. In some works, yi Hou casts his friends and himself as East Asian figures from Western history and visual culture, ranging from nineteenth-century Chinese immigrants to Son Goku of the popular media franchise Dragon Ball. In others, the artist depicts his sitters—many of whom, like him, identify as part of a queer, Asian creative community—in traditionally white, masculine roles, upending long-standing stereotypes. 

Similarly, yi Hou looks to both popular culture and past references, including the Brooklyn Museum’s newly reinstalled Asian Art collections, in his collage-like approach to these compositions. The artist surrounds his subjects with what he calls “Chinese cowboy” iconography, a kaleidoscope of imagery such as American flags, yin-yang symbols, cowboy hats, and Chinese calligraphy. Through this juxtaposition—and his reclamation of slurs against East Asian people—yi Hou reveals the complexity of identity, as evidenced by his own Chinese British background. Now a resident of Brooklyn, he states: “Even though I am barely an American, I am resolutely an Asian American.”

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