Things Mary Wang does


Firstly, Mary Wang is a writer and editor based in New York. She mostly works for magazines, newspapers. and other publications on the journalism spectrum.

Mary Wang was the senior editor of Guernica, where she ran 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 resist assimilation, 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.

In fact, she writes a lot about fashion. One such publication she’s written for is Vestoj. The most recent edition on doubt included an essay, titled Expecting, about the many expectations that come with expecting a child.

“Do prospective mothers look like oversized Cecilie Bahnsen dresses, their gauze caressing taut stomachs? Do they look like swollen but manicured feet bursting out of Birkenstocks? And what was the chance that I would look like the pregnant supermodels I looked up on Google?”

She also used to work for Vogue where, aside from documenting the mundane melodrama’s found on the Instagrams of fashion models, she wrote pieces like this one about how the controversy around a show of Chinese art at the Guggenheim seems to say more about America itself.


Speaking of women and images, 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.”



After an existential crises about the facts and fictions that have crumbled the world around her, Mary Wang also started writing a short story collection and a novel. One of her stories, “The Child Is A Mother Too”, was the finalist for the Missouri Review Jeffrey E. Smith Editor’s Prize. She’s also the 2021 Emerging Writer Fellow for the Center for Fiction.

She’s currently working on a collection of ghost stories about the displaced, alienated, and others who can’t find a home for themselves in modern society. She’s also working on a novel about a down-on-her-luck fashion model on a quest to regain control over her own image. If you’d like to read a sample of her fiction, please get in touch. In the meanwhile, you can peruse the worksheet she produced for her workshop on Fernando Pessoa at a conference organized by e-flux and Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art (now Kunstinstituut Melly).