Things Mary Wang has done


Mary Wang is the senior editor of Guernica, where she runs an interview series called Miscellaneous Files. Set up as a virtual studio visit, the series asks writers to share images, videos, and other digital artifacts as a way to discuss their practice. In one of the interviews, Hilton Als told her,

    “If you grow up in a society where your queerness is reviled or criticized, you learn to save yourself by not speaking. And it’s taken me a long time to get to the point of not not speaking. ”    



She also edited Clothes, Interrupted: An Anthology on Fashion and Time, which was published by Guernica in 2020. Published in a year of disrupted supply chains, canceled fashion weeks, and repeated lockdowns, the book explores

“what happens when the relationship between fashion and time starts to feel distanced, socially or otherwise.



Contributions include Victoria Blanco’s reportage on how an Indigenous community in Mexico uses dressmaking to fight assimilation, Amna Chaudhry’s report on the protest movement started by Pakistani garment workers as COVID-19 brings the fashion juggernaut to a halt, Jonathan Michael Square’s research on how enslaved people contributed to fashion history, and Caroline Evans’ essay on how the standardization of time led to the rise of the modern fashion industry. 

You can order the e-book here, or you can read the contributions on Guernica’s website.

She reports on news stories like this one in the Guardian, in which she followed an Occupy co-founder’s bid to become mayor at a town with 278 residents. 


In politics, timing is as decisive as reason. Trump’s rise to the presidency is only possible after...the nation’s rural-urban divide and income gap have been brewing for decades. White had attempted viral movements before, but Occupy only spread when it fed on the right mixture of internet culture and economic meltdown.


Another news item is this radio story for WNYC  which explains how the Black Panthers have used Chinese medicine to support marginalized groups in the US, a tradition that gained a renewed urgency after Trump’s election.

With the uncertain fate of Obamacare — it’s clear some New Yorkers are feeling anxious enough to look beyond the medical establishment. For them, holistic health care isn’t a luxury; it's a necessity.


Nowadays, she mostly writes prose. Here’s an essay she wrote for Michigan Quarterly Review  dissecting the sad white women she grew up admiring.

“The sad white women I loved were castrated femme fatales, Medusas with their locks cut off. All the sexual fervor without the consequences of their thirst, a guarantee that the damage they inflict can only be directed towards themselves.”


She wrote an essay for Longreads too, about ten different Chinese translations of the word care, and why her family worked to keep her grandmother in the dark about her cancer diagnosis.

The traditional Chinese character for medicine — 醫 — contains the symbol used for alcohol. The doctor’s role was both to operate on bodies and to provide adequate anesthesia: A doctor was defined as much by how he much could improve health as how much he could reduce pain.”


If you want to learn more about Mary Wang’s approach, you could attend one of her workshops. Most recently, she conducted one at a conference organized by e-flux and Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art. She talked about how Fernando Pessoa can help us see things in a different perspective, literally and literarily. You can download an at-home worksheet here