This thematic show traces the relationship between food and identity and includes new work along with images from well-know projects and photographs that have never seen the light of day.
The Plains Museum
Fargo, North Dakota and Moorhead, Minnesota (2012)
THE UNIVERSITY AVENUE PROJECT: A Six-Mile Photographic Inquiry
St. Paul, Minnesota (2006 – 2010)
For three years Huie photographed the dizzying diversity in the St. Paul neighborhoods connected by this major thoroughfare. From old world to developing world to modern world, this jammed stretch of storefronts, big box retailers, blue-collar neighborhoods, and burgeoning condominium communities—in the midst of one of the highest concentration of international immigrants in the country—collectively reflects the colliding and evolving American experience.
In 2010, in collaboration with Public Art Saint Paul, a six-mile gallery of 500 photographs transformed University Avenue, exhibited in store windows and on buildings. The centerpiece was a spectacular installation site where dual outdoor photographic slide shows were projected nightly on billboard-sized screens in a former car dealership lot, accompanied by prerecorded soundtracks by local musicians.
Looking For Asian America: An Ethnocentric Tour
United State of America (2001 – 2002)
From one of the United States' most diverse areas (Hilo, Hawaii) to its least (Slope, North Dakota), Huie and his wife Tara spent nine months traveling through 39 states on an "ethnocentric" tour of their homeland. Some of the sights include a Vietnamese Elvis, a Hmong enclave in rural North Carolina, a meditating Falun Gong protestor in front of the Washington Monument, a bubble tea valley girl, ABCs (American-born Chinese), FOAs (fresh-off-the-airplane), and a self-described red-neck Chinese restaurant owner near the Okefenokee Swamp. The result is an idiosyncratic and personal odyssey through an America where Asians, particularly Chinese, happen to be in the majority.
I am the youngest of six and the only child not born in China. For most of my life I've looked at my own Chinese-ness through a white, middle-class prism. Outside of my family, people who looked like me were hard to find in Duluth, Minnesota, or in the popular culture I embraced. My mom made me pray to Buddha every New Year, but it was Jesus Christ Superstar who became my cultural touchstone. At times my own parents seemed exotic and yes, foreign, to me.
They also became my first photographic subjects. Twenty-five years later I embarked on a nine-month, cross-country odyssey, with a distinct awareness of being a hyphenated American. It was refreshing to look at my home country through my particular bi-focal ethnocentric lens and see the exotic as familiar, and vice-versa. What I found was a place that exists mostly under the prevailing cultural radar, but is as American as Buddha bars, Bruce Lee dolls, and chop suey.
Lake Street USA
Minneapolis, Minnesota (1997 – 2000)
Wing moved to Powderhorn Park, a neighborhood along Minneapolis’s Lake Street and began taking pictures and didn’t stop until four years and twenty thousand frames later, when he displayed 675 photographs in store windows, bus stops, on the sides of buses and abandoned buildings along the six-mile length of the same street. The result was one of the most remarkable public art projects in recent memory.
This epic gallery of images ranging in size from 8 by 12 inches to 8 by 12 feet reflects the dizzying mixture of socio-economic, ethnic, and cultural realities that encompass the dozen disparate neighborhoods connect by this singular street. Accompanying many photos are the words of the people in the pictures talking about their lives and neighborhood, excerpted from hundreds of interviews that Huie conducted. This monumental yet accessible exhibition paints a profound, sad, and often humorous and joyful look at the diversity of the American city.
In a comment book placed at a Lake Street coffeehouse, an anonymous person wrote: ‘Where art is not afraid to look into the eyes of us, regular poor folks just living our lives, this art comes down from the pretentious, self-conscious and exclusive upper-class realm and becomes community art, art with a purpose, humane.
“These are the pictures you’ll never see in Nike ads or car ads or perfume ads. These are the majority of Americans picking up their broken identities and trying to scrape together a living, a culture, and identity, a life. Most of the images we see are of advertisements, trying to sell us a euphoria and prestige we could never achieve. We look around us and are disappointed; we struggle but don’t measure up.
“These photos show us, real and valuable just as we are. They are sad because they aren’t the perfect images of others we’re used to seeing. They are empowering for the same reason. Thanks, for these images and a chance to respond. Peace."
Frogtown: Photographs And Conversation In An Urban Neighborhood
St. Paul, Minnesota (1993 - 1995)
Wing's first major project was a groundbreaking outdoor installation on a vacant grass lot in Frogtown, one of the oldest neighborhoods in St. Paul and also home to the largest Hmong community in Minnesota. He spent two years photographing residents on the street, in their homes, backyards, at barbecues, on their front porches, at play and during worship.
This unique exhibition was open 24 hours a day and it attracted people to a neighborhood they might not otherwise have visited. In this neighborhood, as in many core urban districts nationwide, incomes are low and the crime rate is high. Huie approached Frogtown citizens as individuals, frankly yet compassionately. His photographs reveal his sense of kinship with them and transmit the sense directly to the viewer.