Destined For a Garage Sale, Martin Wong’s Collection is Saved by Danh Vō and the Walker Art Center

The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis has bought around 4,000 objects left behind by the late Chinese-American artist Martin Wong, the Art Newspaper reports. The vast collection of Chinese teaware, calligraphy, Disney figurines, and paintings by Wong was transformed by the Danish-Vietnamese artist Danh Vō into a large-scale installation titled I M U U R 2 for his solo show at the Guggenheim Museum in New York in 2013.

Wong died at the young age of 53 in 1999. When Vō got hold of the items, Wong’s elderly mother was on the verge of selling her deceased son’s belongings. The artist told the curator (and artnet News contributor) Lydia Yee, “Florence was actually talking about having garage sales because she didn’t know what to do with all this stuff.”

A curator convinced Vō that a posthumous collaboration with Wong would increase the prospect of an institution buying the collection, save it from destruction, and to help preserve Wong’s legacy. The plan worked out perfectly when the Walker Art Center agreed to buy the unique artwork last September.

The work goes on show at London’s Barbican Gallery in “Magnificent Obsessions: the Artist as Collector” from February 12, 2015.

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