Exhibition Review: East of sun, west of moon by Oscar yi Hou at the Brooklyn Museum

Reviewed by Chanel Reed

One of the youngest artists to exhibit a solo show at a substantial museum in New York, Oscar yi Hou: East of sun, west of moon, has exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum from October 14, 2022 – September 17, 2023. The Brooklyn Museum is located at 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, New York, built on the land that is a part of an ancestral homeland of the Lenape (Delaware) people. The museum holds excellence in exhibitions, programs, collections, and visitor experience, challenging traditionally common art history by including multiple perspectives in creations. 

Drawing was something that yi Hou had close to his heart ever since he was young. Mass culture in TV shows, such as animes and cartoons, stimulated his artistic flow. The exhibition, East of sun, west of moon, embodied 11 portraits with specific details representing East Asian and Western history, such as Son Goku from the popular anime Dragon Ball, Chinese descendants, and his close friends. Along with the figurative symbolism comes fragmented collages of art with vibrant and poppy so-called “Chinese cowboy” iconography, Chinese calligraphy, and popular imagery. Yi Hou embraces the Asian community, the queer community, the reclamation of slurs, and the complexity of himself through illustrative paintings.

Electricity shocked my body once I stepped into this exhibition. I was blown away by the unique style of Yi Hou’s work. It’s hard for me to find an artist with such incredibly complex work that I am invested in. It had a feel of organized chaos to it, where my eyes wandered everywhere because of the rich hues and hidden details I hadn’t picked up yet. As a fellow artist who develops work with the help of online references, the connections interlocked. His art inspires me to create art that breaks my style apart to recreate something outstanding with great detail and meaning. It also motivates me to keep on drawing from what influences me the most; anime/ Japanese culture and the queer community into complex concepts. 

Learn more at www.brooklynmuseum.org/exhibitions/oscar_yi_hou