Ho Tam The Yellow Pages

Paul Petro Contemporary Art ⁠ accessible_forward
980 Queen St W

The Yellow Pages (1993) was Ho Tam’s first artist’s book. It explored North American stereotypes and clichés of Chinese and Asian cultures. The work was also adapted into an eight-minute video piece that premiered at Union Station in Toronto in 1994. In 1998, Ottawa’s Gallery 101 helped the artist to print the book’s second run. Arranged in 26 segments from “A” to “Z”, The Yellow Pages looks at the relationship between images and text within the Asian-American/-Canadian context and beyond.

Updated in 2016 to reflect the changing nature of our times, the most recent edition of the project once again pairs text with seemingly random yet poignant pieces of footage, taken from various sources. In a playful and satirical manner, the work roams through the past and present, from the Vietnam War, to pop culture, to explorations of queer history and changing beauty standards. Both simple and complex in its presentation, The Yellow Pages seeks to interact with distinct viewers, never allowing a single perspective to dominate.

Ho Tam (b. Hong Kong) is a media/visual artist who has worked in advertising and community psychiatry. He received a BA from McMaster University and an MFA from Bard College (NY). Tam has exhibited in public galleries and alternative spaces across Canada, including the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography (2001) and has had two survey exhibitions, A Portrait of the Photographer, Paul Petro Contemporary Art (2015), and Cover To Cover at the Richmond Art Gallery, BC (2018). He recently edited and published Frontline: Interviews with International Photo-based Artists. He is also the publisher of 88Books, an independent press of artist books. Tam lives in Vancouver, BC.