the ch!cktionary

I'm Lena Chen, a writer, activist, and media producer who's been called a "skank" (by Bill O'Reilly) and "a small Asian woman" (by The New York Times). My favorite part of my workday is the hate mail.

For the unlikely story that is my life, read on.

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irregular features
Ask Lena: Reader Questions Answered
Anatomy of an Outfit
Bad Feminist Confessions
Freelance Friday: Career Advice for Young Writers
Hate Mail
Gratuitous Photos Of My Bulldog
Notes & Snapshots from Abroad
Recent Tweets @lenachen

I don’t know how most artists feel about the way their work is interpreted. If I were to apply this to my fiction, for example, I would always want the reader to come away with the intended meaning, that is, my meaning. I mentioned yesterday how I wasn’t sure if I was reading feminist messages in Johanna’s art, which is not that far-fetched because most of the art knowledge I’ve collected over the years is related to feminism and other social movements. So is what I see or feel more a reflection of my existing beliefs? How does an external viewer’s interaction with a piece of art alter it or impact the artist herself?

Since showing is better than telling (uh, particularly when discussing visual art), the above are a few examples of Johanna’s work. Stab If You Want To is a sculpture of a women’s torso accompanied by knives, which - as you can see - visitors are invited to heat and then use on the sculpture itself. The second photo shows her studio and features a performance piece (View After Performance) as well as a pair of sweaters woven into each other. I don’t have a name for the latter work but you should totally try it on if you stop by her open studio today in Brooklyn.

Johanna’s been really excited to film people interacting with her various creations this weekend, and I’m really pleased in general that there are folks out there making stuff that isn’t meant to be surrounded by security in a pretty white gallery. So, if you’re in Brooklyn and you want to discuss the meaning of life with her, check out her open studio today:

GO: a community-curated open studio project
11am-7pm, September 8-9th, 2012

Johanna Hamm Open Studio
Pratt Institute
200 Willoughby Ave, ELJ Hall 410B
Brooklyn, NY 11205
Floor 4