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I stopped by PPOW to see the exhibition Martin Wong: Everything Must Go. Martin’s sepia toned palette is, like old postcards, familiar made elegiac, the ghost of Loisaida past.


Martin Wong, EVERYTHING MUST GO, 1983, acrylic on canvas, 48 × 60 inches.

In 1998 I attended the Jackson Pollock exhibition at MoMA with a good friend. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed my friend go down on one knee. It struck me she was genuflecting in the presence of such mastery. I totally understood and accepted the gesture. Later I found out she was in effect stooping to pick something up.

I stopped by PPOW to see the exhibition Martin Wong: Everything Must Go. Martin’s sepia toned palette is, like old postcards, familiar made elegiac, the ghost of Loisaida past. His signature color field, red bricks, lovingly rendered, memorialized but a single decade in time. I was overwhelmed with longing…the storefront churches, the tenement apartments, a shaftway window, and rubble-strewn lots. Now, Martin’s gone, much of what I remember is gone. There are no more empty lots, just 20 story high rises; no storefront churches, all restaurants. Could he have known how fleeting that moment would be? It is a precious gift to realize you stand before a master—with that I went down on one knee.

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