Born in Hong Kong and raised in Vancouver, in 1978 Tseng Kwong Chi moved to Manhattan, becoming a fixture of New York’s downtown art scene. Soon after arriving, Tseng began the series East Meets West, photographing himself standing in front of iconic architectural landmarks or contemplating the Sublime in nature, wearing a “Mao suit” and assuming his invented artistic persona of an “Ambiguous Ambassador.” Combining performance and photography, political satire and personal identity, this pioneering series exemplifies the art of the eighties while presaging the social, political and philosophical themes of the present day. A close friend of Keith Haring, in 1983 Tseng participated in a London performance where Keith Haring painted Bill T. Jones' body, who then was directed and photographed by Tseng.
Deceased in 1990 at age thirty-nine from AIDS-related illness, Tseng’s work has been widely exhibited and published. His work is in numerous public collections, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco;Tate Britain, London; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C., and many others. In 2015, a retrospective Tseng Kwong Chi: Performing For the Camera was held at the Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, and the Grey Art Gallery at New York University.
Through drawing and photography, Lee’s work engages with the historical photographs, artworks, and personal traces of queer artists such as Tseng Kwong Chi, Peter Hujar and Derek Jarman. For his series Untitled (TKC), Kang recreated the photographic self-portraits from Tseng's iconic East Meets West series, rendering the images in painstakingly photorealistic graphite drawings; however, in each case, the body of the artist is erased, highlighting the absence, erasure and invisibility of a generation of queer creatives lost to the earlier epidemic of HIV/AIDS.
Based in Los Angeles, Kang Seung Lee (b. 1978, Seoul, South Korea) received an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts (2015). Lee has had solo exhibitions and projects at Artpace, San Antonio (2017); Los Angeles Contemporary Archive (2016); Pitzer College Art Galleries, Claremont (2015); and Centro Cultural Border, Mexico City (2012). Selected group exhibitions include Gwangju Biennial 2021; National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul (2020); Palm Springs Art Museum (2019); LA><ART (2017). Lee’s work is featured in the 2021 New Museum Triennial and is currently on view in Close to You at MASS MoCA through January 2022.