Out of the Archive: Process & Progress Exhibition

Curated by Angel Velasco Shaw

Tomie Arai, John Yoyogi Fortes, Swati Khurana, Albert Chong.

Karen Su, Karlyn Koh, Jan Christian Bernabe, Sarita Echavez See, and Midori Yoshimoto

Friday September 18th 6:00pm - 9:00pm

GALLERY TALK with Artists & Scholars:
Wed, October 7th, 6 - 8pm.
Location: WHITE BOX 329 Broome St.

To commemorate the thirty-fifth year of mounting arts in a community context, the Asian American Arts Centre (AAAC) presents “Out of the Archive: Process and Progress,” a major exhibition program. It aims to draw attention to the AAAC Artists Archive and its recently launched digital archive - artasiamerica.org. This program includes a special exhibition installation, a gallery talk, a catalogue, several essayists, and online interactive events and opportunities for the audience. The digital archive, a major undertaking over two years in the making, consists of about 10% of the total 1,500 Asian American artists entries in the original archive, which reflects the last 60 years and several generations of artistic production.

The four artists presented, Tomie Arai, Albert Chong, John Yoyogi Fortes, and Swati Khurana, have been selected from a review of all the artists posted in artasiamerica.org by guest curator Angel Velasco Shaw. The printed catalogue has been edited and coordinated by Sarita Echavez See who selected four writers to participate with her in reviewing the artists' work: Karen Su, Karlyn Koh, and Jan Christian Bernabe. AAAC seeks to expand the ways in which it has presented Asian American art in a community context. Expanding our approach to the literary arts, we are introducing a critical writing component in order to draw upon literary and cultural criticism for visual interpretive and critical thinking.

These essays shed light on these artists in a variety of ways such as: the artists' relationship to the work that they exhibited at AAAC in the past; the critique and contextualization of their current work; and the national and international context for these artists' creative production. Moreover, these essays launch an investigation into the shifting rhetorics of art criticism and cultural criticism. By bringing forth new perspectives in the context of the exhibition we aim to open up a critical dialogue that generates an appreciation for these art works and a critical language for substantively engaging with Asian American art.

In the era of globalization, the marketplace and the discourse associated with international art events, the exploration of identity has come to be seen as passé in many sectors of the art world. Insisting anew on the importance of visibility and recognition for Asian American artists, the AAAC wants its archival resources to serve artists and audiences by providing opportunities for continual interpretation and valuation of diverse artists and their works.

In addition to the online essays, the exhibition will also be online with an opportunity for online responses and comments by the audience. The Gallery Talk event on Oct 7th will be broadcast live on Ustreamtv from White Box.

• "The pieces in this exhibition span a period of two decades, from the family narrative of “The Laundryman” who sojourns to America to the social themes of Asian American writers and filmmakers in “Motion Pictures”. Since those gritty days on the Lower East Side the exchange of stories that captivated me as a muralist still informs my art practice." –Tomie Arai
• "It is my intent to present photographs that exist in a form contrary to the normal conception of what a photograph is . . . This new configuration is my attempt to find a creative and visually dynamic solution to the premise of the exhibition, which is how these four artists from the archives have used processes in their work and how it has enabled the growth or progress of their work. What may be less evident in the trajectories of our work may be the issues of race and identity." –Albert Chong

• "Art is an integral part of my life and has been since I was a young boy . . . Most of the images used in my current work come from the Internet . . . Although culture and identity aren't the focus for creating content or imagery in my work, it does creep in from time to time . . . If there’s been progress, it’s the transition to my current process of working more intuitively at the onset combining materials and imagery with no concern for content, liberating me from my older more restrictive process." –John Yoyogi Fortes

• "As an Indian immigrant woman, I explore through my work gender, ethnicity and the seductive promises of rituals. Revisiting my large, traditional Hindu wedding composes a large part of my artistic practice, through video, sculpture, collages and drawings . . . The documenting of weddings and other personal moments as necessary fictions makes up the narratives of our lives. I became increasingly invested in exploring South Asian female subjectivity in my work." –Swati Khurana

Angel Velasco Shaw is an educator, cultural activist, freelance curator, and independent filmmaker. She spends her time between New York and the Philippines. In 2008, she produced a series of cross-cultural exchange projects with artists from Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore and the United States set in the Philippines. In 2002, she co-edited the anthology Vestiges of War: The Philippine-American War and the Aftermath of an Imperial Dream; 1899-1999 published by NYU Press.

• Dr. Karen Su is director of the Asian American Resource and Cultural Center at U of Illinois at Chicago. She has a Ph.D. in English and has taught and helped to develop Asian American Studies at numerous campuses on both coasts and the Midwest.

• Dr. Karlyn Koh is associate professor of English and director of the Honors Program at LaGuardia Community College. Her current research includes a study of Asian North American avant-garde poetics and visual arts.

• Dr. Jan Christian Bernabe is a Futures of Minority Studies postdoctoral fellow at University of Michigan. He is currently working on a book manuscript tentatively titled Improbable Visions: Filipino Bodies, U.S. Empire, and the Visual Archives.

• Sarita Echavez See is associate professor of Asian/Pacific Islander American Studies at U of Michigan. Her book The Decolonized Eye: Filipino American Art and Performance will be published this fall by U of Minnesota Press.

• Dr. Midori Yoshimoto is associate professor of Art History and director of two galleries at New Jersey City U. Her book Into Performance: Japanese Women Artists in New York, 1955-75 interweaves the art and lives of five artists.

Asian American Arts Centre, Inc. is supported, in part with public funds from The New York State Council on the Arts, and The National Endowment for the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. With additional funding and support from Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, 9.11 Fund, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Manhattan Mini Storage/Edison Properties Inc, the NYC Parks & Recreation’s public art program, Materials for the Arts, NYC Department of Youth & Community Development and the Office of Councilman Alan J. Gerson through CREATE in Chinatown, Inc, New York Cosmopolitan Lions Club, Pearl River Mart, United Orient Bank, Dedalus Foundation, Expedi Printing, Inc., Charles Yuen, Wing Tek Lum, Jody and John Arnhold, Danny C.K. Li, Jeanne Lee Jackson, Linda Peng, Wing Lee Yee, Mikyung Kim, Richard Kenny Esq, John Yu, and the many generous friends of the Asian American Arts Centre.

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