State of Art: Navigating cultural appropriation with Anchorage artist and educator, Thomas Chung

A tryptic painting depicting artist and educator, Thomas Chung’s ideal male and female beauty standards. (Image courtesy of Thomas Chung).

Artist and educator Thomas Chung is no stranger to controversy. After the 2016 presidential election, he made news when one of his paintings was displayed at the University of Alaska Anchorage. It showed a nude Chris Evans, of Captain America fame, holding the severed head of President Donald Trump while Hilary Clinton clings to Evan’s leg.

When word got around about the painting, a take on the myth of Perseus and Medusa, national news outlets picked up the story and Chung began receiving death threats. The UAA art professor required personal security until things calmed down.

It would be easy to dwell on the Trump controversy, but that would negate the breadth of Chung’s work. While not overly political, Chung’s art touches on issues of race and identity, themes that are often very personal to him.

This week on State of Art, Chung joins us for a conversation about cultural appropriation, his approach to art and finding humor in dark places.

As is often the case, there just wasn’t enough time in our radio broadcast to fit everything in, so here’s an extended interview with Thomas Chung. Find out more about his background, his interest in anthropology and of course, the Trump painting.

This extended interview touches on mature subjects and contains some adult language.

Thomas Chung’s website

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