In 1978 Wong moved to New York, where he began to paint the neighborhoods of downtown Manhattan. Stanton near Forsyth Street is one of his signature Lower East Side cityscapes, in which brown-brick tenement buildings rise amid abandoned lots, refuse, and graffiti-covered surfaces. Two small figures appear in the foreground: on the left is a self-portrait of the artist, and on the right is Miguel Piñero, the Nuyorican poet and playwright who was Wong’s frequent collaborator and romantic partner. The artist’s stylized fingerspellings, a recurring visual idiom in his work that is appropriated from American Sign Language, scroll across the upper part of the painting.
Gallery label from Contemporary Galleries: 1980-Now, November 17, 2011-February 17, 2014.