Artwork About Anti-Asian Discrimination Stolen From NYC Art Nonprofit

A group exhibition in Brooklyn is down an artwork after a reported theft took place last month. Artist Julia Kwon had two of her textile works on view in Form and Formless: Constellations of Knowledge at the UrbanGlass Art Center in Downtown Brooklyn until one of them was stolen from the display wall and carried out of the building.

The lost work in question, entitled “AAPI Hate Affects AAPI Mental Health (71.7% of the respondents who experienced hate incidents during the pandemic report anti-Asian discrimination to be their greatest source of stress, much higher than any other pandemic concerns)” (2021), visually represents the aforementioned statistic through a variety of multicolored silk rectangles stitched together to resemble a bojagi, or Korean wrapping cloth. The piece was displayed alongside another work of Kwon’s addressing the uptick in transphobic legislation across the United States, underscoring how race- and gender-based aggression are inherently connected.

Both Kwon and UrbanGlass’s Exhibition Manager Meg Wachs told Hyperallergic that the theft occurred at 4pm on January 19, according to security camera footage. Wachs said that though the video quality was poor, it appeared that a person “just came in, looked around for a bit, took the piece off the wall, balled it up, shoved it in their pocket, and left the gallery.”

“You never think it would happen to you until it does,” Kwon said. “Also just considering what the work is about, it adds another level of shock and heightens this feeling of a lack of safety.”

Urban Glass Installation View
An installation view of Julia Kwon’s two bojagi-style works in Form and Formless: Constellations of Knowledge at UrbanGlass’s Art Center Julia Kwon

Wachs noted that this was the first time something like this had happened in her five years at UrbanGlass.

“The act itself didn’t appear violent in any capacity,” she explained. She filed a police report with the 88th Precinct and an active investigation is underway. Hyperallergic has contacted the New York City Police Department for comment. UrbanGlass is requesting that anyone with information regarding the theft or whereabouts of the piece reach out to Detective John-Paul Zinser at

Whether the theft was intentional or impulsive, UrbanGlass curator Alpesh Patel said that it “feels like an act of hate upon a work dealing with hate.” The piece was fixed to the wall with safety pins above a second work of Kwon’s that remained in the gallery. He and Kwon have since added a sign where the textile was displayed notifying viewers of the theft.

“I’m heartbroken for Julia and the viewers who won’t get to see the work that she has so generously shared with us,” Patel added.

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top