Akron – The Akron Art Museum will launch an outdoor exhibition titled The 10,000 Things: Recent Works by Jordan Wong in the Bud and Susie Rogers Garden on May 29, 2021. Jordan Wong’s The 10,000 Things weaves together inspirations from Asian art—historic Chinese paintings, Japanese manga, anime, video games, comic books, and more—with graphic design, iconographies, and the artist’s own philosophical musings. Wong’s large-scale works are metaphorical as much as they are referential, containing themes of perseverance, triumph, belonging, and growth. The 10,000 Things will be displayed throughout the Bud and Susie Rogers Garden all summer.
“The 10,000 Things aims to inspire, delight, and encourage viewers to generously listen, look, wonder, contemplate, play, and dream,” says Jordan Wong, exhibition artist. “Creating artwork for outdoor spaces enables and encourages greater ambitions: scale, materials, and the experience for viewers. I am able to share more outdoors, and hopefully the work has a greater impact by inspiring and engaging more people. My hope is that visitors will find delight in the fanfare of visuals exploding from each work. I also wish to help reignite and reconnect them to their own playful fascinations.”
Wong brings a graphic sensibility to the garden with the many hidden symbols, references, and characters for visitors to discover. The title of The 10,000 Things is a Taoist phrase used to reference and describe the entire universe, and for the artist it is a declaration of ambition. Seema Rao, Deputy Director and Chief Experience Officer, noted, “The popularity of superheroes points to a deep need for celebrating good. Superhero powers are often born of their difference, so there is an inherent sense of belonging.” Many of Wong’s playful works highlight topics such as identity or ethnic and cultural belonging expressed through the sequential imagery in the style of manga and comics.
Gina Thomas McGee, the Museum’s Curator of Education stated, “We wanted a show that is vibrant, interactive and easily accessible. We have exciting programs coming in the spring which are centered around the exhibition that create a safe and welcoming space for families and friends to enjoy art together again.” The garden space has been framed to allow groups to engage with the art and others while still social distancing. Rao said, “We know that experiencing art together is one of the greatest joys of going to a museum, and with this exhibition we can go back to doing just that in a safe manner. The 10,000 Things features incredible art that can ignite the imagination and we look forward to visitors experiencing it.”
The 10,000 Things opens on May 29, 2021 and is the prelude to Jordan Wong’s related indoor exhibition coming Labor Day to the Museum’s Mary S. and David C. Corbin Foundation Gallery. Wong’s upcoming indoor exhibition will provide a closer look into the artist’s creative process. Hours of operation for the Museum and the Bud and Susie Rogers Garden are as follows: Thursdays: 11 am–8 pm, Fridays: 11 am–5 pm, Saturdays: 11 am–5 pm. Beginning March 12, on the second Friday of each month the hours are 11 am–8 pm. Admission is free. Timed tickets are recommended and can be reserved online in advance, but walk-ups are welcome. Upon entry, visitors will notice signage designed to keep them informed about AAM’s health and safety protocols and processes.
The 10,000 Things is made possible with support from PNC, the Mary S. and David C. Corbin Foundation, Arts Midwest GIG Fund, a program of Arts Midwest that is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Alan and Janice Woll Family Fund, Peg’s Foundation, Mary and Dr. George L. Demetros Charitable Trust, Akron Children’s Hospital, the Synthomer Foundation, the Charles E. and Mabel M. Ritchie Foundation.