3. Martin Wong: Human Instamatic

Martin Wong Canal Street World Aids Day Untapped Cities AFineLyne‘Canal Street,’ 1992. Artist Martin Wong. Collection of the New York Historical Society

World AIDS Day is a time to celebrate and honor those whose lives were cut short by this devastating illness. The Bronx Museum of the Arts is celebrating the life and work of Martin Wong (1946-1999) in the exhibit Martin Wong: Human Instamatic. This is the first museum retrospective of Wong’s work, and will take you from his early days in the 1970s, where he first occupied a room at the Meyer’s Hotel, to paintings from his years living on the Lower East Side. The exhibit reflects the multi-ethnic community he loved, and includes a display of personal papers and drawings.

Martin Wong Bronx Museum World Aids Day Untapped Cities AFineLyne

In a separate room, off the main galleries, is a display case sharing many of his personal papers and drawings. In the photo above, you can see his drawing of two firemen kissing inside a heart. Underneath it are Wong’s words, “Make sure the heart is full and voluptuous.”

Martin Wong Cupcake & Paco World Aids Day Untapped Cities AFineLyne‘The Annunciation According to Mikey Pinero’ (L); ‘Cupcake and Paco (Corot)(R). Artist Martin Wong.

Mr. Wong moved back to San Francisco to be in the care of his parents while fighting AIDS. He passed away in 1999. In addition, Martin Wong is being honored on Worlds AIDS Day by the organization Visual AIDS in the online event Art Lives.

The Bronx Museum of the Arts is located at 1040 Grand Concourse. Admission is free.