Artist and collector Arlan Huang, curator Howie Chen, Pearl River Mart President Joanne Kwong, curator Danielle Wu in Pearl River Mart's gallery

Just Between Us: From the Archives of Arlan Huang (May 4–Sept. 10, 2023)

For nearly six decades as a practicing artist, Arlan Huang has quietly collected art. While some of the pieces were purchased, much has been amassed through “art swaps,” or friendly exchanges between fellow artists.

Like a confidence between friends, intel given off the record, or a shared history or experience, this exhibition was “just between us.” The phrase evokes the major principles that form the bedrock of Huang’s collecting ethics: that art should circulate outside the nefarious concerns of the market, that it should not seek approval from heteropatriarchal white institutions, and that a secret language in the form of gossip and complaint forges the most precious and intimate of friendships.

The works on view narrated both historic and deeply personal moments. His collection traces his time in the Asian American arts network, Godzilla, and the Chinatown-based collective Basement Workshop. Featured artists included Tomie Arai, Ken Chu, Corky Lee, Alex Paik, Hoyt Soohoo, Bob Hsiang and Martin Wong. As the owner of the frame shop Squid Frames, Huang kept longtime correspondence with conceptual artist Sol Lewitt.

Curated by Howie Chen and Danielle Wu, “Just Between Us” was presented in partnership with Think!Chinatown.

A catalog published by Pearl River Mart and Think!Chinatown with an essay by Danielle Wu and an interview between Howie Chen and Arlan accompanied the exhibition. The exhibition is made possible thanks to support of the State of New York and New York State Council on the Arts. It is also supported, in part, by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.

Accompanying materials


  • The New York Times: What to See in N.Y.C. Galleries in August
  • ARTnews: An Asian Imports Store, Not a Museum, Is the Site of the Summer’s Most Surprising Art Show
  • South China Morning Press: 50 years of Asian-American art, community and protest celebrated in archive exhibition by New York artist and activist Arlan Huang
  • Tetsudo: Between a Storefront and a Mini-Mall, Two Visions of Asian American Art
  • WNYC's All of It: Interview with Arlan Huang and Danielle Wu
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