Arthur Huang: Reading, Not Reading, Coffee

“Reading, Not Reading, Coffee, and Theories:  Works by Arthur Huang and Mary V. Marsh”

August 3 through September 1, 2007

Mercury 20 Gallery is proud to announce the two-person exhibition of Arthur Huang and Mary V. Marsh.

Arthur Huang is a conceptual artist who amasses information about and byproducts of his day-to-day habits as a consumer.  The information and remnants of consumption are organized and sometimes reconfigured to permit reflection and analysis of acts of consuming.

For his exhibition, “The Need to Project”, Huang will be presenting his Theories Project in which he has analyzed his pattern of spending and eating along with other behaviors.  In his studio, he developed hypotheses about his tendencies.  He will then put those theories to the test by analyzing recent patterns in spending and eating and see how his predictions correlate with his actual behavior.

Arthur Huang will also inaugurate his Unread Book Project at Mercury 20 Gallery. He has collected unread books from participants along with information about how those books were obtained and why they remain unread.  During the opening reception, he will be checking in books that gallery visitors have brought to donate to his library of unread books along with the stories behind the books.  Should they find a book to their liking, gallery visitors will also be invited to exchange their unread book for a book in the unread library.  Gallery visitors are encouraged to browse and read these unread books.  Arthur Huang will be present in during gallery hours on Saturdays, August 4, 11, 24 and September 1 to check in unread books as well as trying to read some of his own unread books.

Arthur Huang lives and works in Oakland.  In 2001, he received his MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in Painting and Printmaking.  He has exhibited his work in venues across the United States as well as in the Bay Area.  Additional information about his work can be found at

Exploring the intersection of eating and reading, Mary V. Marsh investigates ideas of perception, propaganda and consumer society. Her process and materials have been influenced by years of working in libraries. Tasks of collecting, sorting and categorizing have become part of her artwork.

The Coffee Diary is a daily journal of buying coffee to-go. With each coffee purchased in 2004, she recorded the date and what she did while drinking it, writing directly on the cup. This project describes routines and events centered around getting coffee while doing other things. Besides demonstrating the quantity of paper cups used, it illustrates the need to consume as you are commuting, shopping, walking, so you can consume even more at one time. The diary reveals the small weekly exchanges with people that develop into relationships based on a certain time and place. As Marsh wrote down what happened while consuming each cup, the importance of these small interchanges became apparent. Viewers can pick up and read the 327 paper cups, displayed on recycled wood shelves.  A small-edition artists’ book The Coffee Diary will be available for purchase.

Other works in the people consuming and Reading America series will also be on view.  Images of people reading and consuming are painted with coffee and gouache on obsolete library checkout cards.  Dates and signatures of past readers, recall a history of each book and the shared experiences of each book’s consumption.  Discarded library book covers evoke memories of favorite books and suggest new stories.

Mary V. Marsh received an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1992.  She has been exhibiting paintings, drawings and book works throughout the Bay Area.  For additional information, e-mail Mary V. Marsh at or visit or