Wu Tsang is a filmmaker and performance artist who combines documentary and narrative techniques with fantastical detours into the imaginary in works that explore hidden histories, marginalized narratives, and the act of performing itself. Tsang re-imagines racialized, gendered representations beyond the visible frame to encompass the multiple and shifting perspectives through which we experience the social realm.
Wu Tsang’s work as an artist emerges from collaboration, particularly as a co-organizer of a weekly nightclub called "Wildness", which was a flashpoint for underground art and community activism in Los Angeles. Taking place at an immigrant gay bar near MacArthur Park in Los Angeles, Wildness created a space where the bar’s longtime patrons, queer people of color, mixed with artists and performers. Tsang’s feature film "Wildness" (2012) documents this scene and the perpetual negotiation of race, gender, and socioeconomic class among the patrons, who wrestle with questions of gentrification, authenticity, and ownership as they encounter each other’s realities. The bar itself plays a leading role in the film, serving as an omniscient narrator and embodying the imaginative and performative acts through which cultural fictions are formed and expressed.
The artist became widely known in 2012 thanks to this film, which premiered at MoMA's Documentary Fortnight.
Wu Tsang received a B.F.A. (2004) from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an M.F.A. (2010) from the University of California at Los Angeles. Other films by Tsang include "We hold where study" (2017), "Girl Talk" (2015), "Damelo Todo (Gimme Everything)" (2010), and "Shape of a Right Statement" (2008). Wu Tsang’s work has been exhibited or screened at Gropius Bau in Berlin, Tate Modern London, Kunsthalle Münster, Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, among many other national and international venues.