Ashley Yang-Thompson

The product of a Chinese immigrant and a white polygamist from Fort Scott, Kansas, Ashley Yang-Thompson has been a performance artist since the day she was ruthlessly shoved out of the safety of her mother’s womb. She works in a wide range of media, from figurative painting and zines to Diogenes-style performative pissing. Her art has been exhibited at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum, the Museum of Moving Image, and the Essex Peabody Museum (Spring 2023), as well as numerous national and international spaces. She is a recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Creative Equity Fellowship and Mass MoCA’s Assets for Artists Grant. In 2021, Bateau Press published her graphic novella, How to be the worst laziest fattest most incontinent piece-of-shit in the world EVER.

Worm Slut

A collaboration with Nia Musiba
Zine collection 2022

WORM SLUT, a collaboration with Nia Musiba, is a Portland-based risograph zine that confronts issues of identity, as well as which barroom bathrooms are transgender nightmares, diurnal bowel movements, and the best breakfast burrito in Portland (an ongoing investigation). Nia and I started the zine in February 2022, and have 13 issues. We freely distributed 250 copies of each zine at various local coffee shops and throughout the PSU campus, with open calls for participation. Worm Slut is our personal invitation to the world: please be the weirdest version of yourself around us. It is our love letter to the lonely and our inoculation against the shrinking human being inside each of us.

Jane Fonda’s Original Workout / “Flex” Factory

Ever since 2016, I have done Jane Fonda’s Original Workout (the best-selling VHS of all time) almost every day. In an era where women were discouraged from exercising and gyms were dominated by men, Jane Fonda’s Original Workout (1982) was groundbreaking. It popularized fitness for women (as well as a neon spandex fashion craze), and the proceeds supported leftist political organizations. During my residencies at Vermont Studio Center, The Wassaic Project, and Oxbow School of Art, I made Jane Fonda’s Original Workout into a daily happening, and invited residents and staff to participate in this iconic aerobic ritual. In the heyday of Equinox, Class Pass, and the disgustingly remunerative Cult of Health, Jane Fonda’s Original Workout functions as a free, silly, and moderate group workout that only requires a towel. The workout attracted a heterogenous group of residents, including Cheryl R. Riley, who actually did Jane Fonda’s workout with Jane Fonda in the 80’s. In 2019, I was asked to lead Jane Fonda’s Original Workout (advertised as a “queer comedic fitness demo”) at Socrates Sculpture Park in Astoria, NY as part of Flux Takeover!

Jane Fonda at Oxbow School of Art & Artists’ Residency, 2018.
Video made in collaboration with  Zehra Khan

Cognitive Disobedience (and the right to be Lazy)

Audio transcription of the syllabus read aloud by me accompanied with Ruby Bontrager laugh track.


please contact me if you are interested in enrolling in this course:

contact: ashley.yang.thompson@gmail.com

website: ashleyyangthompson.com

newsletter: ashleyyangthompson.substack.com