Artist Talk: Tuan Andrew Nguyen from The Propeller Group
Tuan Andrew Nguyen from The Propeller Group will be in conversation with Duy Lap Nguyen, assistant professor of world cultures and literatures at the University of Houston, and Javier Sánchez Martínez, the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Curatorial Fellow at Blaffer Art Museum.
The conversation will focus on the uncertain origins of The Propeller Group, the definition and the situation of contemporary art in Vietnam, the effects of the global market and the remnants of the Vietnam-American war. The discussion will also address Vietnam’s first generation of graffiti artists, what it means to rebrand a country and the unexpected affinities between mythology and advertisement.
About the Exhibition
The Blaffer Art Museum proudly presents the first U.S. museum exhibition by The Propeller Group, on view from June 3 through September 30, 2017.
The Propeller Group is an artist collective based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and Los Angeles, California. Led by founders Phunam Thuc Ha, Matt Lucero and Tuan Andrew Nguyen, the collective blurs boundaries between fine art and advertising with large-scale multimedia projects. Their expansive work, while deeply rooted in Vietnam’s history, politics and everyday life, also address global phenomena, including international commerce, street culture and the tools of war.
The exhibition is organized by the Blaffer Art Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and Phoenix Art Museum. For more information, visit http://blafferartmuseum.org/the-propeller-group/.
About the Speakers
Tuan Andrew Nguyen was born in 1976 in Saigon, Vietnam. In 1979, he and his family emigrated as refugees to the United States, and he grew up in California. Nguyen earned a BFA from the University of California, Irvine (1999) and an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts (2004). He is a member of the artist collective The Propeller Group (est. 2006) and a cofounder of the artist-run alternative space Sàn Art (est. 2007) in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon). His work often deals with the cultural estrangement of expatriation and the experience of returning home to an unfamiliar place. Nguyen’s videos have appeared in the 18th Annual Singapore International Film Festival (2005), 4th Bangkok Experimental Film Festival, Thailand (2005) and 55th International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, Germany (2009). Nguyen has been the subject of solo exhibitions at Voz Alta Project, San Diego (2004), and Galerie Quynh, Ho Chi Minh City (2008). He lives and works in Ho Chi Minh City.
Duy Lap Nguyen is an assistant professor of world cultures and literatures at the University of Houston. His work has appeared, most recently, in Thesis Eleven (2015), Constellations (2015), Differences (2015), Interventions (2014) and Historical Materialism (2010). Nguyen’s current research explores works by the Vietnamese philosopher Trần Đức Thảo and develops a reading of Thảo’s materialist critique of phenomenology. A second project, titled “The Postcolonial Present: Redemption and Revolution in Twentieth-Century Vietnamese Culture and History,” examines Vietnamese cinema, literature and mass culture from the Vietnam War era.
Javier Sánchez Martínez is the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Curatorial Fellow at Blaffer Art Museum. His recent exhibitions include “Blake Rayne: Cabin of the Accused” (2016) and “Hilary Lloyd” (2016) at Blaffer Art Museum; “The Rhythm That Laughs You” (2014) at Flux Factory in Queens, N.Y.; “Tom Burr. Screen” (2014) at CCS Bard; and “The Image and the Animal” (2010) at Palacio de los Condes de Gabia, Granada, Spain. He also co-curated the exhibitions “Saint-Clair Cemin. Baroque Mirror” (2012) and “Hans Lemmen” (2011) with Omar-Pascual Castillo at Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain.