Clae Lu: Playroom

February 28 – June 9, 2023
6 – 5PM

During the opening reception on Tuesday, February 28, from 6–8pm, Clae Lu will perform a selection of experimental compositions on the 古筝 (gu zheng).

The International Studio & Curatorial Program presents “Playroom,” a solo exhibition of work by Clae Lu, recipient of The New York Community Trust’s Edward and Sally Van Lier Fund residency at ISCP, curated by Kathy Cho. “Playroom” presents a variety of experimental works that range from painting, to a meditative installation, to sonic compositions on the 古筝 (gu zheng), also known as the Chinese zither. All of these creative practices are meant to create space for and support the artist’s chosen families, their closely connected community.

In recent years Lu has collaborated with fellow artists in experimental music and dance performances. During their residency at ISCP, however, Lu has refocused on their individual practices, returning to mediums and themes that bring pleasure, joy, and comfort. Central to the exhibition is an installation inviting audiences to rest, reflect, and meditate to a sonic playlist created together with editor and music publisher Ben Florencio. The installation serves as an idealized architectural facsimile of the various spaces where Lu seeks out and nurtures communal kinship. A constellation of wall hanging works documents Lu’s everyday life: paintings of a family style meal and of their main instrument, the 古筝 (gu zheng). Dating as far back as 400 BCE, this traditional Chinese string instrument is usually plucked. Lu’s experimental approach to playing it is an intentional act of queering, a reclamation of how the 古筝 (gu zheng) can be understood and explored. Throughout the exhibition, Lu asks, “What does it mean to celebrate the mundane?” and “How does my community come together to create new traditions?”

An additional public program will be announced at a later date before the exhibition closes in June.

Clae Lu (they/them) is a queer, second generation Han Chinese American from Queens, NY. They identify as an artist, designer, cultural worker, and 古筝 (gu zheng) musician working on land that is unceded territory of the Lenni Lenape. Lu believes in the power of arts and grassroots activism to create spaces for conversation, reflection, and action. Lu has performed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; MoMA PS1; Elsewhere; Brooklyn Museum; Movement Research; Symphony Space; and Abrons Art Center. They have shown work at The W.O.W. Project, Wook + Lattuada Gallery, and the Honolulu Museum of Art. Their residency at ISCP is sponsored by The New York Community Trust’s Edward and Sally Van Lier Fund.

Kathy Cho (they/she) is a New York-based curator who produces exhibitions, events, images, and writing to collectively archive loose narratives of lived experiences. Ongoing research areas include the visual and dialogic lexicon of (Asian) diaspora artists, and the physical and digital architectures of affect. They received an MFA in Curating from Goldsmiths, University of London, and were a 2020-21 Curatorial Fellow at The Kitchen.

“Clae Lu: Playroom” is supported by The New York Community Trust’s Edward and Sally Van Lier Fund. Additional support is provided by Hartfield Foundation; Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation; New York City Council District 33; New York City Council District 34; New York State Council on the Arts and the New York State Legislature; and William Talbott Hillman Foundation.