Art Museum Visit: Clara Mui

Ken Chu – Tong Zhi/Comrade Out in Asia America: Yuki (2001)

This collection of art pieces called “Tong Zhi/Comrade: Out of Asia America”(2001) caught my eye because of the middle poster here has a very bold Japanese name “Yuki” on it. This is a collection of stories and photographs of Asian and Pacific Islander men that the artist Ken Chu put together in the form of posters. The pieces are in black and white on tabloid size papers. The artist mimicked the poster style that is similar to the war time notices such as this military notice during WWII.

A military notice during WWII

They both have mixed typefaces on a single media and used a bold and chunky typeface like helvetica bold to catches the attention of audience, then a leaner typeface for details. The star ornaments added on the sides of the photograph also gives it a sense of official document as  you see them a lot in older official posters. This is reminding me that having things outside of typography such as ornaments or illustrations, is important to emphasize what we want to convey in our final poster.

Chu was trying to point out how queer minority like asians were treated badly like they were criminals in their communities by making the posters look like warrant posters back in war time, like how Americans treated Japanese Americans as outsiders and considered as dangerous. It’s the discrimination against one community’s own member that Chu wanted to emphasize.

Another similar form of poster is lost human poster. As Chu used capital case for the first letter of the descriptions, and without connections like a sentence. Just having facts on the poster giving it a sense of urge and kind of objectifying the characters of the stories a little bit.

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