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Patty Chang 
January 1 – April 30, 2020

For her solo exhibition at 18th Street, Patty Chang will present video works that highlight several communities that live and work in the large metropolitan areas of Santa Monica, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, and the Texas/Mexico border. Milk Debt is a multi-part video project consisting of videos of lactating women pumping their breast milk as they recite lists of fears drawn from multiple communities across different geographical regions. Chang’s exhibition in the Airport Gallery will feature new film pieces produced with the participation of Santa Monicans and Angelenos across the region, where the artist explores our debt to those who came before us, what it means to perform empathetic acts, and how we can make visible the hidden fears we share in this dark time. The title Milk Debt comes from the concept in Chinese Buddhism that a child can never repay the mother for raising and feeding it with her breast milk. Therefore, it is necessary to repay the debt through payments towards the afterlife of the mother. Milk debt is an arrangement that binds us to our history and to the earth. Through a process of collecting the fears of these communities to craft each film’s script, Chang exposes the wounds in our collective cultural consciousness so that we may rethink the process of healing.


LA based artist Patty Chang has been creating new video work for 18th Street Arts Center, with scripts she is writing based on fears submitted by people who live or work in the Santa Monica or broader Los Angeles region. The fears will be recited on-camera or live by one or more performers for the artist’s solo exhibition at 18th Street in 2020. This work will be going to other places in the near future, so if you are outside of LA, you are welcome to fill out the form as well – just indicate your current city.

The exhibition was originally planned to open May of 2020, but due to the COVID-19 situation and lockdown as of March, it will open sometime later in 2020 (hopefully summer). In the meantime, Chang has re-opened her call for fears, especially those responsive to our post-pandemic world. She will be making new work in collaboration with performers working remotely and creating new scripts out of these fresh fears. We will take submissions until April 20th.

If you participated in the past, feel free to resubmit your fears, or participate for the very first time. It will really only take 5 minutes and will be totally anonymous in the final script.Thank you for sharing this with us, and we hope it helps you find some solace that great art often arises from times of crisis.

To participate, fill out a survey here:


Patty Chang is a Los Angeles based artist, originally from San Leandro, California. Her work utilizes performance, video, installation and narrative when considering identity, gender, transnationalism, the environment, and impacted subjectivities. She currently teaches at the University of Southern California.

Chang has exhibited nationwide and internationally at institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Guggenheim Museum, New York; New Museum, New York; BAK, Basis voor actuele Kunst, Utrecht; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Fri Art Centre d’Art de Freibourg, Switzerland; Chinese Arts Centre, Manchester, England; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the M+ Museum, Hong Kong; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Times Museum, Guangzhou, China; and Moderna Museet, Stockholm. She received the Rockefeller Foundation Grant, Creative Capital Award, Guna S. Mundheim Fellow in the Visual Arts at the American Academy in Berlin, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow, an Anonymous Was a Woman Grant, and was a finalist for the Hugo Boss Prize. Chang received her BA from the University of California, San Diego (1994). 

Artist’s Website

Press Contact
Director of Communications & Outreach
(310) 453-3711 x104

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