Things Mary Wang has done


Mary Wang has worked at New York Public Radio / WNYC and Vogue, where she has taken on tasks that include producing radio, reporting local news, editing a fashion magazine, and pondering the meaning of life, during office hours.  

Speaking of fashion, Mary Wang runs Against Nudity—experiments in fashion conducted in almost monthly pdf’s. The video above is from one of the project’s short films (you wouldn’t think she would walk around half-naked for no reason, would you?) You can subscribe here and read about how George Berkeley, Hannah Arendt, and RuPaul’s Drag Race help her debate why she gets dressed. 

Below, a preview. 


She also leads the US programming for The White Review, and she is the multimedia editor of Guernica, where she runs an interview series called Miscellaneous Files. Every month, she talks to writers using screenshots from their digital devices, as a way to understand their practice. In one of the interviews, Ottessa Moshfegh told her,

    “Depression is an intolerance to life, but it can also be profound. Maybe the trouble is that we don’t respect it enough. What if you’re actually having the most important experience of your life? I probably learned a lot more about myself, life, and God from being depressed than from anything else. Being in love is maybe a close second.”    


Mary Wang also writes essays, prose, and other barely categorizable forms of text.



Many of these are about art. In a Vogue review of Art and China After 1989: Theater of the World at the Guggenheim in New York, she writes,

Many of contemporary Chinese art’s greatest hits appear in between....One can’t help but wonder whether these are the only types of Chinese art that a certain Western audience wants to see: easily digestible, devoid of dirt, and matching a pre-established idea of the rapidly developing East.”



She also reports on political 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. 

If this year’s political upheaval has made anything clear, it’s that 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.



She often writes about China, even though she hasn’t lived there for twenty years. She wrote an essay for Longreads about the different translations of care found in nursing the ill, and why her family worked to keep her grandmother in the dark about her cancer diagnosis.

Maybe it’s telling enough that 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.”

Another China-adjacent piece is this radio story for WNYC on how the Black Panthers and other civil rights activists 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 — and the ongoing shift in national policies in general — 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.



Mary Wang would love to tell you more about what she’s doing at the moment, though chances are she’s making another attempt at optimizing her life in one of her three paper planners. It’s probably easiest to just shoot her an email