Asia/America: Identities In Contemporary Asian American Art
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.