Asia/America: Identities In Contemporary Asian American Art

Photographic portraits of artist Tseng Kwong Chi hang on the gallery wall just behind a multi-media installation by Sung Ho Choi. 

Installation view, Asia/America: Identities In Contemporary Asian American Art, MIT List Visual Arts Center, 1996. Photo: Charles Mayer, 1996.

Hayden Gallery and Reference Gallery
Featured Artists
Pacita Abad
Sung-Ho Choi
Ken Chu
Y. David Chung
Marlon Fuentes
Jin Soo Kim
Tseng Kwong Chi
Hung Liu
Yong Soon Min
Takako Nagai
Long Nguyen
Manuel Ocampo
Sisavath Panyathip
May Sun
Hanh Thi Pham
Masami Teraoka
Mitsuo Toshida
Toi Ungkavatanapong
Zarina Zarina
Baochi Zhang
Explore all artists who have exhibited at the List in our Artist Index.

According to Vishaka N. Desai, director of the Asia Society Galleries in New York, who organized this exhibition, “The unprecedented growth of the Asian American population in the last three decades has prompted a reexamination of traditional assumptions about ‘East’ and ‘West.’”

Asia/America: Identities In Contemporary Asian American Art features the work of twenty foreign-born Asian American visual artists who, in their art, deal with the complex questions of identity faced by Asians living in the West. To assemble the exhibition, guest curator Margo Machida, herself a third-generation Japanese American, traveled throughout the United States visiting studios and interviewing artists. The artists represented in the exhibition come from eight different areas of Asia: China, India, Japan, Korea, Laos, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. They range from recent arrivals to thirty-year residents and work in a broad range of styles and mediums, including painting, sculpture, photography, and mixed media installation. Machida says, “While only a few of the works address the question of cultural identity through specific imagery, all are informed by the artists’ struggles to define themselves as people of Asian descent living in America.”

In this exhibition only one of the artists, Masami Teraoka, who was born in Japan in 1936 and now lives in Hawaii, draws inspiration from a traditional Asian medium: woodblock printing. The other artists, most of whom came to America after 1965, express themselves in what might be called the common language of contemporary Western art.


The exhibition, catalogue, and related programs have been made possible, in part, by grants from The Nathan Cummings Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, The New York Times Foundation, and the Green Point Savings Bank. Additional funding has been provided by the Friends of the Asia Society, The Starr Foundation, and the Arthur Ross Foundation.