Diane Severin Nguyen: IF REVOLUTION IS A SICKNESS is the first solo museum exhibition of New York and Los Angeles-based artist Diane Severin Nguyen. The exhibition features a recent video installation, photographs, a site-specific architectural intervention, and the artist’s first public art commission in the form a billboard located in Houston’s Midtown neighborhood during the month of January 2023.
The exhibition is built around the titular video, IF REVOLUTION IS A SICKNESS, which is set in Warsaw, Poland and loosely follows the character of an orphaned Vietnamese child who grows up to be absorbed into a South Korean pop-inspired dance group. Widely popular within a Polish youth subculture, K-pop is used by the artist as a vernacular material to trace a relationship between Eastern Europe and Asia with roots in Cold War allegiances. Nguyen’s work reckons with the process of finding shared symbols and naming oneself from within another’s regime, while also positioning youth culture as a critical and crucial site of revolutionary power.
About the Artist
Diane Severin Nguyen (b. 1990, Carson, California) is an artist who works with photography and time-based media. Nguyen earned an MFA from Bard College in 2020 and a BA from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2013. Recent solo and two-person exhibitions include Between Two Solitudes, Stereo, Warsaw; Tyrant Star (online exhibition), Carnegie Museum of Art (CMOA), Pittsburgh; Reoccurring Afterlife, Empty Gallery, Hong Kong; Minor twin worlds with Brandon Ndife, Bureau, New York; and Flesh Before Body, Bad Reputation, Los Angeles; all 2019. Recent group exhibitions include Is it morning for you yet?: 58th Carnegie International, CMOA, Pittsburgh, 2022; Greater New York, MoMA PS1, New York, 2021; Made in L.A. 2020: a version, Hammer Museum and The Huntington, Los Angeles, 2020–2021; and Bodies of Water: 13th Shanghai Biennale, Power Station of Art, Shanghai, 2021.
Image caption: installation view of Diane Severin Nguyen: IF REVOLUTION IS A SICKNESS at SculptureCenter, New York, 2021. Photo by Charles Benton.
CAMH’s presentation of Diane Severin Nguyen: IF REVOLUTION IS A SICKNESS is supported in part by J. Patrick Collins.
Diane Severin Nguyen: IF REVOLUTION WAS A SICKNESS has been made possible by the patrons, benefactors and donors to CAMH’s Major Exhibition Fund: Chinhui Juhn and Eddie Allen, Sissy and Denny Kempner, MD Anderson Foundation, Rea Charitable Trust, Louisa Stude Sarofim, The Sarofim Foundation, and the Texas Commission on the Arts.
Diane Severin Nguyen’s first public art commission, which takes place in conjunction with the exhibition, is funded in part by the City of Houston via the Houston Arts Alliance.
Contemporary Arts Museum Houston is funded in part by the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance.
Arts and Culture Texas Magazine is the exclusive media sponsor of CAMH’s presentation of Diane Severin Nguyen: IF REVOLUTION IS A SICKNESS.