Towards an American Covenant With Difference
For Asian Pacific Americans as well as other ethnic communities, the Arts play a crucial role in developing an identity, in reconfiguring values appropriate to the American context. The Arts transform the way in which we understand and identify ourselves and the way others see and understand us.
WE COUNT ! THE STATE OF ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICA
In May 1993, in commemoration of Asian American Heritage Month, Asian American Arts Centre and the Mayor’s Office for Asian Affairs in New York City mounted an exhibition entitled, “We Count! The State of Asian Pacific America.” It was held on May 10 to May 31, 1993 at the Tweed Gallery adjacent to the City Hall.
Arun Bose began his career in Calcutta, India in the late 50’s, studying in Paris with Stanley Hayter in 1962, before coming to New York to establish a prominent printmaking facility at Lehman College. Joseph Goto came from Hawaii to study sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago. In 1951 Alfred Barr of MOMA acquired one of his sculptures. Joseph won a Graham Fd. Award in 1957 and received numerous grants throughout his career. In the 1970’s Sang Nam Lee was a professional artist in Korea before coming to New York in the early 80’s where he has pursued an art with explicit spiritual intentions and strategies. Quynh Nguyen from Vietnam, former professor of art at Columbia University has written and lectured on art and philosophy in both English and Vietnamese. Quynh began his career in the early 1970’s, exhibiting in Vietnam and Germany before coming to New York in the 80’s. Lily Yeh from Taiwan learned Chinese brush painting at an early age before studying contemporary painting in Philadelphia in 1960’s. She has since established a community organization that has helped to renew an entire neighborhood in the African American community of North Philadelphia. Toshihisa Yoda came to New York in the mid 1960’s to develop his minimalist mode of painting. Junko Yoda exhibited in Tokyo before coming to New York where she developed her special form of paper knotted collage. Charles Yuen from Hawaii came to study art at Rutgers in the 1980’s and has developed a mode of painting related to Middle Eastern miniatures. Sui Kang Zhao studied and exhibited in Shanghai in the early to mid 80’s before coming to San Francisco and New York to get his MFA. In the last few years he has developed his sculptural wall units to interface with technological and linguistic counterparts.
The Day and Night Transparent the 8th Day and Night - an artists talk 1998
Eung Ho Park, Sperm Spoons, 1995
Today we see major magazines and exhibitions on the new Asian art inclusive of Asian American artists. Articles saying Asian American art is about 'tension', or new culture study books that multiculturalism has become a trick of the mainstream to avoid the contradictions and ambiguities inherent in the term. Luckily, artists do not read or take these remarks to heart and continue to spin their art out of their own meditations. The audience, however, can be left in a tither, bewildered as to what to think, which expert to believe or which book is the most up to date. We suggest, that if you try hard, you can see and enjoy the art work, letting your questions spin in their most inimical way, and be more like the artists themselves, leaving experts to their own arguments.
some of these questions will be touched on here
tonight. Have no fear, that with more evenings like tonite, we will come to understand these questions, given a gradual growth of perspective. And the commodification of knowledge need not interfere with our joy of art.
7lb. 9oz. : The Reintegration of Tradition into Contemporary Art
Ng, Kim, Hibi and Tanaka assert the Asian presence of difference. Difference can be embraced, like the sun that simply rises and radiates, ideally giving all life energy. Ethnicity is neither conservative, closed, nor traditional, it is dynamically changing in the contemporary world and capable of creating new forms. These artists do not give themselves up to mass perceptions. They keep their distinctiveness.
Yoshiki Araki: Hiroshima Born
In the body of work that was saved by his wife and friends, Araki’s evolution as an artist can be seen. The profound impact of Hiroshima on his psyche, how this resolved for him and where it led him to produce the kind of haunting imagery that remains his legacy to us. Artists who have seen war, can go beyond the human form, violate it, no longer afraid, as he seemed to do, slicing open his own torso, gathering the grammar of his visual parts, cut clean, till bones emerge and a blossom gut. A deep sea of translucent wax protects us, the salve of ritual confines the enigma.