PaperCity Magazine

May 2019- Houston

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Page 109 of 131

108 gift shop that all make for a universe as convincing as Disney World, but far more prescient. Pound Cake Man Takes the Gulf Coast Over in Beaumont at AMSET, Choi is amidst her own immersion in the American experience, as she relays via soft sculpture, animation, video, performance, drawings, and paintings, narratives plucked from her own family history. Born in South Korea in 1983, Choi was adopted later that year by a Caucasian family from New Hampshire, a childhood that may have looked idyllic but ultimately led her to seek reunion with her Korean parents when she was in her mid-20s. Along the way, study at Berklee College of Music — helpful later in composing her own cartoon scores — and a BFA and MFA followed. With her AMSET solo, Choi — who has recently been awarded dual grants from the Warhol Idea Fund and City of Houston/Houston Arts Alliance for an experimental film/animation screening in Spring Branch's Koreatown late 2019 — is set to create her most complete cosmology. Considering herself a "world builder," the articulate painter, sculptor, and animator's kingdom recalls the joyful tableau of the 1969-1970 Saturday-morning cult classic H.R. Pufnstuf. But there is a serious theme at play here too. The lumbering, human- sized creature Pound Cake Man, Putt- Putt the pink octopus puppet, and Choi dressed in native Korean attire enact an immigration, separation, and reunion tale that has assumed intense topicality. (This concept was eerily concurrent with the U.S. government's border policies displacing children from parents.) Choi's, AMSET show, "Big Time Dreaming in the Age of Uncertainty" is the latest chapter in the ongoing Cosmic Womb mythology. The artist revealed, "I initially wanted to capture the feeling of reuniting with my birth father, the relief and joy I felt to be loved unconditionally — just as I am. In this new chapter of the Cosmic Womb narrative, families across the cosmos are broken apart by a terrible war. Two children named Everlasting Spirit and Brilliant Mind create a magical vehicle that can travel on a superhighway of dreams. Together they rescue and reunite children and their parents." Choi said of the storyline: "Although this story is fi ction the feelings are real. The journey to fi nd wholeness in one's life is the journey of big time dreaming and it is something we can all embark upon even in times of great uncertainty." "Trenton Doyle Hancock: Epidemic! Presents: Step and Screw!" at The Menil Collection, through May 19; "Trenton Doyle Hancock, Mind of the Mound: Critical Mass," at MASS MoCA, through October 2019; "JooYoung Choi: Big Time Dreaming in the Age of Uncertainty," at the Art Museum of Southeast Texas, Beaumont, through June 2; JooYoung Choi's film screening and community gathering, "C.S. Watson and the Bio-Engineered 'Ultra' Protagonist: An Examination of the Impact of Symbolic Annihilation and an Exploration of the Evolutionary Potentialities of Sci-fi/ Fantasy Media"; winter 2019 (dates TBA); JooYoung Choi's Journey Vision 5000 – Sweet Cretaceous, 2018, at the Art Museum of Southeast Texas "Trenton Doyle Hancock, Mind of the Mound: Critical Mass," takes over an entire building at MASS MoCA. Hancock's Halloween House interior, at MASS MoCA Hancock's Undom Endgle, at MASS MoCA, with the artist's expanding toy collection. (continued from page 106)

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