Wen-You Cai, born in 1989, is an artist, curator, and writer based in New York. As a Chinese, born in Japan, and raised in New York, her cross-cultural identity has been infused in all areas of her creative endeavors. She is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design and Goldsmiths College.

In 2015, she published her memoir When You Make No Art, about growing up in museums, published as an art book in English and widely distributed in art bookstores. The book has been translated into Chinese as 可不可以不艺术 and published by Imaginst Press in China.

In 2016 she founded Special Special, a shop, gallery, and a creative platform. As the director, she has produced over 40 unique collaborations with artists and makers with projects in New York, Shanghai, Taipei, and Macau. Special Special operated from an East Village storefront from 2016 to 2022, and after the closure of the space, A Small Pond Under the Blue Sky was published to commemorate the projects realized during those years.

Recently Special Special launched 4N, a biannual magazine featuring artists seeking O-1 visas in the US. Special Special continues to develop projects to foster creative communities, and is seeking opportunities for Plant Residencies

From an early age, photography has been a means to record her existence and relationship to her environment. In 2019, Wen-You exhibited her first solo exhibition Rooster Tiger Sheep by Snake of family photographs spanning twelve years at MGM COTAI, Macau, and was accompanied by a photo book of the same title. Additionally her artworks have been exhibited at Bonnefantenmuseum in Maastricht, Netherlands, Alisan Fine Arts in Hong Kong, among other art institutions.

Her exhibition Meandering Recollections at Cafe China in New York, opened February 2024 and will be on view until January 2025. Her most recent photo book Minnan Exit with te editions was released in Spring of 2024.  

She is also a Notary Public, and certified Beauty Chiropractor. She loves to give pets massages, but she doesn’t have any pets of her own. 

Photo by Midge Wattles
Photo by Midge Wattles

©Wen-You Cai 2024