PRINT April 2020


Trevor Shimizu, Molly Ringwald (Self-Portrait), 1999, oil on canvas, 32 × 41".

IF MUCH ART EXISTS to stimulate admiration, even lust, few artists are as up-front about it as Trevor Shimizu. Pieces throughout his career demonstrate as much: One, from 1999, begins a recent survey, “Trevor Shimizu: Performance Artist,” at the ICA Philadelphia. It’s the artist’s first “performative” self-portrait, portraying a painted avatar who resembles a Luc Tuymans figure—washed out against a light backdrop and given shape by a mop of black hair, black sunglasses, and a black shirt. Shimizu looks vintage, cool. To his right sits a red-haired woman eating sushi and peering at him with interest. Even without the title—Molly Ringwald (Self-Portrait)—you might guess that the scene derives from the 1985 film The Breakfast Club, with Shimizu, poised to flirt, destabilizing the flat depictions of Asian and Asian American men that populate John Hughes movies. Born in Northern

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