Get local news delivered straight to your phone

to sept. 30

We can't make City Paper without you

$
$
$

Your contribution is appreciated.

Fetishization. Globalization. Appropriation. Cultural exchanges between the West and the rest tend to be awfully one-sided transactions. “Remix: East–West Currents in Contemporary Art,” an exhibition at the Arlington Arts Center that pairs the Occident and the Orient, is no exception. In part, the show trips by design: There is, in fact, no categorical “East” that draws characteristics from societies as disparate as India and Japan, no monolithic fraternity that operates in contradistinction to the West. Though most artists in the show deal with obviously Asian and Subcontinental themes, the subtext throughout is the Western gaze. Sarah Matsumoto casts herself in various disguises to represent American stereotypes of Asians and Asian-Americans—the camera-saddled tourist, the overachieving scientist, and so on—in photographs whose theme borders very closely on the race play in Nikki S. Lee’s work. Race also matters in Ezra Millstein’s photographic portraits: Intellectual Property, Sikkim, India depicts a man wearing a baseball cap with the word “NICE” emblazoned over the Nike swoosh. The clever title threads the subject of the portrait with his country’s macroeconomic significance; Millstein’s Green Taxi, Bombay, India—a close-cropped, wanly lit shot of a cab in which the driver sprawls suggestively—plays up the sexual threat of the other. In the context of the show, Amy Glengary Yang’s Phosphorsquid revisits the traditional paper lantern; her light box is the clearest example of synthesis of artistic influences from home and abroad. But the best and subtlest touch belongs to Elizabeth Whiteley, whose standout basswood architectural model, Screen for Grasses 1. Form 9, resembles a very pared-down design by Frank Lloyd Wright—an architect whose affection for Japanese architecture was written all over his work. (Kyan Bishop’s Sustainability is pictured.) The exhibition is on view from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, to Saturday, Sept. 30, at the Arlington Arts Center, 3550 Wilson Blvd., Arlington. Free. (703) 248-6800. (Kriston Capps)