Activism and Diaspora: American Art Histories
December 6, 2019
An Academic Workshop sponsored by Terra Foundation for American Art with support by the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU and The Japan Foundation, New York (JFNY) Grant for Japanese Studies program. Alexandra Chang (Rutgers University, Newark) and ShiPu Wang (University of California, Merced) co-convened an intensive academic workshop for scholars and curators to examine art activism through a global comparative lens. On Friday, December 6 and Saturday, December 7, the public was invited to join the conversation. Featured speakers included experts in Asian American, Latinx, Indigenous, and African American art, as well as Global Asias perspectives.
Please note that this workshop may have been photographed.
9:30am - 10:00am Introductions
Alexandra Chang, Associate Professor of Practice, Arts, Culture and Media, Rutgers University-Newark (Co-Convenor)
Alexandra Chang is Associate Professor of Practice with the Art History program at the Department of Arts, Culture and Media and Acting Associate Director of the Clement A. Price Institute on Ethnicity, Culture, and the Modern Experience, where she focuses on EcoArt and Global Asias Art and Visual Cultures. She organizes the Climate Working Group and EcoArt Salon at Paul Robeson Galleries, bridging Science, Humanities, and the Arts. She directs the Global Asia/Pacific Art Exchange (GAX) and Virtual Asian American Art Museum with A/P/A Institute at NYU and is Co-Founding Editor of Asian Diasporic Visual Cultures and the Americas (ADVA) (Brill, Leiden). She is Co-Founder of the College Art Association’s affiliated society the Diasporic Asian Art Network (DAAN). She received the New Leadership Award from ArtTable in 2019. Recent exhibitions she has curated include CYJO/Mixed (2019, co-curator with artist, NYU Kimmel Windows); Ming Fay: Beyond Nature (2019 Sapar Contemporary); Zarina: Dark Roads (2017-18, co-curator with artist, A/P/A Institute, NYU), (ex)CHANGE: History Place Presence (2018, Asian Arts Initiative); Circles and Circuits: Chinese Caribbean Art (2017-2018, lead curator, Getty PST II: LA/LA, Chinese American Museum and California African American Museum.) She is the author of Envisioning Diaspora: Asian American Visual Arts Collectives (Timezone 8, 2009) and editor of Circles and Circuits: Chinese Caribbean Art (Duke UP, 2018).
ShiPu Wang, Professor of Art History and Coats Family Endowed Chair in the Arts, University of California, Merced, US (Co-Convenor)
ShiPu Wang is the Coats Family Chair in the Arts and Professor of Art History in the Global Arts, Media, and Writing Studies Program at the University of California, Merced. His research has focused on rediscovering and examining pre-WWII American art and visual culture produced by diasporic artists of Japanese descent. A 2014 Terra Foundation for American Art Senior Fellow at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, he received the museum’s 2008 Patricia and Phillip Frost Essay Award for his essay in American Art, the museum’s academic journal, and joined its editorial board in 2018. His second book, The Other American Moderns. Matsura, Ishigaki, Noda, Hayakawa (Penn State University Press, 2017), won the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum 2018 Book Prize. In addition, Wang has authored two more books: Becoming American? The Art and Identity Crisis of Yasuo Kuniyoshi (2011); and Chiura Obata: An American Modern (2018), an exhibition catalogue published by the University of California Press to accompany a retrospective of the same name that he curated. The exhibition, organized by UC Santa Barbara’s Art, Design & Architecture Museum, has toured internationally and is currently on a six-month display at the Smithsonian American Art Museum (November 27, 2019—May 25, 2020).
10:00am - 12:30pm Panel 1: Diasporic Art Activism — International Framings
Introduction and Chaired by John Tain, Head of Research, Asia Art Archive
Mami Kataoka, Chief Curator, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan (Skype)
Mami Kataoka was born in 1965 in Aichi Prefecture, Japan. Kataoka was Chief Curator at Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery (1997-2002) prior to the Mori Art Museum (2003-) where she now serves as Deputy Director (October 2018- ) and Chief Curator (2009-). Kataoka was also International Curator at Hayward Gallery, London (2007 – 2009); Co-Artistic Director for the 9th Gwangju Biennale, South Korea (2012); and Artistic Director of the 21st Biennale of Sydney (2018). She serves as President of CIMAM [International Committee for Museums and Collections of Modern Art] (2020-2022) and professor at Kyoto University of Art and Design Graduate School of Art and Design Studies.
Her projects at Mori includes a number of solo exhibitions for Asian mid-career artists including Ai Weiwei (2009/2012-2014), Aida Makoto (2012), N. S. Harsha (2017) and Shiota Chiharu (2019-). She also co-curated Roppongi Crossing triennial exhibition series (2004/2013) that introduces contemporary art from Japan. She curated a thematic exhibition All about Laughter: Humor in Contemporary Art (2007) and co-curated a regional exhibition SUNSHOWER: Contemporary art from Southeast Asia from 1980s to Now (2017) among others. Kataoka frequently writes and lectures on contemporary art from Japan, Asia, and beyond.
Sook-Kyung Lee, Senior Curator and Director of Hyundai Tate Research Centre: Transnational, Tate Modern, London, UK
Sook-Kyung Lee is a Senior Curator, International Art, Hyundai Tate Research Centre: Transnational at the Tate Modern. Lee works on exhibitions, acquisitions and collection displays at Tate Modern as Senior Curator, International art, while heading a major research initiative Hyundai Tate Research Centre: Transnational. Lee also oversees the co-acquisition programme between Tate, Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia and Qantas Foundation on contemporary Australian art. She has curated Nam June Paik at Tate Modern in 2019, which tours to institutions in Europe, USA, and Asia until early 2022. She has also curated collection displays at Tate Modern, such as CAMP: From Gulf to Gulf to Gulf (2019-20), Xiao Lu and Niki de Saint Phalle (2018-19) and Susan Norrie: Transit (2017-18). Lee was previously Exhibitions & Displays Curator at Tate Liverpool and curated a number of exhibitions and collection displays including Doug Aitken: The
Source and Thresholds (2012-13, as part of Liverpool Biennial). She served as the Commissioner and Curator of the Korean Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale. Lee has convened and participated in several international symposia and conferences at Tate and internationally, including Axis of Solidarity: Landmarks, Platforms, Futures (Tate Modern, 2019), Asia as Method: Transnational Research in the Museum (Tate Modern, 2018) and Territories Disrupted: Asian Art after 1989 (National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Korea, 2017). She has also written and lectured widely on modern and contemporary art and her publications include Nam June Paik (with Rudolf Frieling, exhibition catalogue, Tate Publishing, 2019) and MOON Kyungwon & JEON Joonho (exhibition catalogue, Korean Pavilion, Venice Biennale, 2015).
Paul Goodwin, Professor and Director at the Research Centre for Transnational Art, Identity and Nation, UAL, Chelsea, London, UK
Paul Goodwin is a curator, researcher and educator based in London. Goodwin’s research and curatorial interests span the fields of transnational art, urbanism and curatorial practice with a focus on African diaspora art and visual cultures. As a curator at Tate Britain from 2007-2012 he directed the Tate Cross Cultural Programme, a multi-disciplinary curatorial platform exploring the impact of race and globalisation on contemporary art in Britain. He is the Lead Investigator for a new international research project: Worlding Public Cultures: The Arts and Social Innovation funded by the Trans-Atlantic Platform. At a time when global instability and populist nationalisms threaten public cultures the project will explore the potential for pedagogical and curatorial innovation with an international consortium of universities and museums including University of the Arts London, Carleton, Concordia, Heidelberg and Amsterdam Universities and Tate Modern, Dutch National Museum of World Cultures, and National Gallery of Canada.
Goodwin’s current curatorial projects include: W.E.B. DuBois: Charting Black Lives (House of Illustration, London, UK, Nov. 2019), We Will Walk: Art and Resistance from the American South (Turner Contemporary, Margate, UK, Feb. 2020), and Untitled: Art on the Conditions of Our Time (touring, Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, UK, May 2020). Professor Goodwin is Chair of Contemporary Art & Urbanism and Director of TrAIN (Transnational Art, Identity & Nation) Research Centre at University of the Arts London.
Russell Storer, Senior Curator, National Gallery Singapore, Singapore
Russell Storer is Director (Curatorial & Collections) at National Gallery Singapore, where he has co-curated the exhibitions Minimalism: Space. Light. Object., Between Worlds: Raden Saleh and Juan Luna, Yayoi Kusama: Life is the Heart of a Rainbow, and A Fact Has No Appearance. He was previously Head of Asian and Pacific Art at the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane where he was a co-curator of the 6th, 7th, and 8th Asia Pacific Triennials; and a curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, where he organized exhibitions by Juan Davila, Simryn Gill, William Yang, Matthew Ngui and Ugo Rondinone, amongst others. He was a co-curator of the 3rd Singapore Biennale (2011), and has written widely on Asian and Australian contemporary art.
Annie Jael Kwan, Independent Curator and Founding Member of Asia Art Activism, London, UK (Discussant)
Annie Jael Kwan is an independent curator and researcher based in London, who works between Europe and Asia. She founded the curatorial partnership, Something Human, in 2012, to focus on the critical ideas surrounding movement across borders. In 2016, she completed a self- initiated curatorial research residency with Java Arts in Cambodia, with the support of the Artists International Development Fund (British Council/Arts Council England) and the National Arts Council Singapore. This generated the collection of interviews and digital materials that would form a significant part of the pioneering Southeast Asia Performance Collection (SAPC) that holds performance-related materials from artists working in relation to the region. In 2018, she curated the exhibition and public programme, UnAuthorised Medium for Framer Framed, Amsterdam, which explored artistic practices and ‘alternative archives’ in relation to Southeast Asia. In 2019, she co-curated the Archive-in-Residence Southeast Asia Performance Collection archive exhibition, and consulted on the “Pathways of Performativity” conference exploring performance in Southeast Asia at Haus der Kunst, Munich. Since 2018, she co- leads Asia-Art-Activism (AAA), an interdisciplinary and intergenerational network of artists, curators and academics investigating the intersected meanings of “Asia,” “art,” and “activism” in the UK. AAA is currently in residence at Raven Row till November 2020. In 2019, Annie was awarded Live Art UK’s Diverse Actions Leadership Award. She is an Associate Lecturer at Central St Martin’s, University of the Arts, London.
1:30pm - 3:00pm Panel 2: American Art Activisms — Exhibition Histories
Introduction and Chaired by Alexandra Chang
Melissa Ho, Curator of 20th Century Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum
Melissa Ho is the Curator of Twentieth-Century Art at the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM). Her research focuses on art made since 1945. She organized the exhibition Artists Respond: American Art and the Vietnam War, 1965-1975, which was presented in Washington D.C. in March 2019, and is currently on view at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Prior to joining SAAM, she was a curator at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, where she organized Shirin Neshat: Facing History (2015) with Melissa Chiu; Salvatore Scarpitta: Traveler (2014); and Barbara Kruger: Belief+Doubt (2012). She is currently at work on a re- installation pan for SAAM’s twentieth-century collection galleries.
Catherine Morris, Sackler Senior Curator for the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, Brooklyn Museum
Catherine Morris is the Sackler Senior Curator for the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum where, since 2009, she has curated and co-curated numerous exhibitions including We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965-1985; Judith Scott- Bound and Unbound; and Materializing Six Years: Lucy R. Lippard and the Emergence of Conceptual Art. She has worked on projects examining contemporary practices through historical precedents, including the museum wide Sackler Center ten-year anniversary project, The Year of Yes: Reimagining Feminism at the Brooklyn Museum and two collection based exhibitions Out of Place: A Feminist Look at the Collection and Half the Picture: A Feminist Look at the Collection. Morris currently serves on the CAPE National Advisory Council, Archives of American Art Journal Advisory Board, and the Art Beyond Sight Board of Advisors.
Denise Murrell, Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Research Scholar, Wallach Art Gallery, Columbia University, New York, US
Denise Murrell is the Ford Foundation Associate Research Scholar in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University in the City of New York. She was previously the Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Research Scholar (2014-2019) at Columbia’s Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery, where she was Curator of the exhibition Posing Modernity: The Black Model from Manet and Matisse to Today (October 2019-February 2019), based on the dissertation for her 2014 Columbia PhD. She was the author of the exhibition’s catalogue, published by Yale University Press.
Murrell was a co-curator of an expanded version of the exhibition, titled Le Modèle Noir de Géricault à Matisse, at the Musée d’Orsay, Paris (March – July 2019), and was an essayist for the Modèle Noir exhibition catalogue. She was a visiting scholar at the Columbia Institute for Ideas and Imagination at Reid Hall Paris (May-July 2019), where she taught a summer undergraduate course based on the Posing Modernity and Black Model exhibitions.
She has given numerous lectures and conference papers at museums and universities in the United States and Europe.
Asma Naeem, The Eddie C. and C. Sylvia Brown Chief Curator, Baltimore Museum of Art
Asma Naeem is the Eddie C. and C. Sylvia Brown Chief Curator at the Baltimore Museum of Art and a specialist in American art and contemporary Islamic art. Before joining the Baltimore Museum of Art, she was curator of Prints, Drawings, and Media Arts at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. Her shows there included UnSeen: Our Past in a New Light, Ken Gonzales-Day and Titus Kaphar, co-curated with Taína Caragol, and Black Out: Silhouettes Then and Now. The former show won the Award for Excellence from the Association of American Museum Curators, and the latter won the Special Achievement award in the 2018 Smithsonian Excellence in Exhibitions awards program.
Asma’s work has been published in Artforum, and American Art, among others; Princeton University Press published her first book on silhouettes, and her second book, Out of Earshot: Sound, Technology, and Power in American Art, 1860-1900, is available in January 2020 by the University of California, Berkeley Press.
Asma holds a Ph.D. in art history from the University of Maryland, a J.D. from Temple University, and a B.A. in art history and political science from Johns Hopkins University. Before returning to art history, she practiced law as a criminal prosecutor in Manhattan and as an ethics prosecutor in Washington, D.C.
3:15pm - 4:45pm Panel 3: Diasporic Art and Narratives of Activism
Introduction and Chaired by ShiPu Wang
Marcela Guerrero, Assistant Curator, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, US
Marcela Guerrero is Assistant Curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, where she recently curated the exhibition Pacha, Llaqta, Wasichay: Indigenous Space, Modern Architecture, July 13—September 30, 2018. From 2014 to 2017 she worked as Curatorial Fellow at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, where she was involved in the much-lauded exhibition Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960-1985, organized as part of the Getty Foundation’s Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA initiative and guest-curated by Cecilia Fajardo-Hill and Andrea Giunta. Prior to joining the Hammer, she worked in the Latin American and Latino art department at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, where she served as research coordinator for the International Center for the Arts of the Americas. Guerrero’s writing has appeared in exhibition catalogues and in art journals such as caa.reviews, ArtNexus, Caribbean Intransit: The Arts Journal, Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts, Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies, and Diálogo. This summer Guerrero will make her exhibition debut at the Whitney with Pacha, Llaqta, Wasichay: Indigenous Space, Modern Architecture, New Art (provisional title), a group show that gives center stage to contemporary art practices that highlight indigenous thinking around the built environment. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Guerrero holds a PhD in art history from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Sarah Lookofsky, Associate Director, International Program/MoMA Post, New York, US
Sarah Lookofsky is the Associate Director of the International Program at the The Museum of Modern Art. Prior to her job at MoMA, she served as faculty member and the instructor for curatorial studies at the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program. A regular contributor to a variety of periodicals and books, she served as the arts editor of DIS Magazine and was the general advisor for the 9th Berlin Biennale organized by the DIS collective. She is a board member of apexart in New York and Gallery Miroslav Kraljević in Zagreb, Croatia. She has curated exhibitions for numerous international venues, including Kunsthal Aarhus, apexart, Art in General, Smack Mellon, Stacion Center for Contemporary Art, and Gallery Miroslav Kraljević, and has taught at the University of California, San Diego and the New School. She holds a BA in Film and Media Studies from the University of Copenhagen and a Ph.D. in Art History, Theory and Criticism from the University of California, San Diego.
Adriel Luis, Curator of Digital and Emerging Media, Asian Pacific American Center, Smithsonian Institution (Discussant)
Adriel Luis is a community organizer, artist, and curator who believes that our collective imagination can make a reality where we all thrive. His life’s work is focused on bridging artistic integrity and social vigilance. He is a part of the iLL-Literacy arts collective, which creates music and media to strengthen Black and Asian American coalitions; is creative director of Bombshelltoe, which works with artists to highlight marginalized communities affected by nuclear issues; and collaborates with dozens of artists and organizations through his curate and design engine, Phenomenoun. Adriel is the Curator of Digital and Emerging Practice at the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, where he advocates for under-served communities to be treated and represented equitably by museums and institutions. He and his team has been curating Culture Labs—an alternative to museum exhibitions, built on community-centered beliefs.
Adriel has recently curated shows at the Smithsonian Arts & Industries Building in Washington, D.C;, Silo Park in Tāmaki Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand; and an abandoned Foodland supermarket in Honolulu. His writing has appeared in Poetry Magazine, the Asian American Literary Review, University of Minnesota Press, and Smithsonian Magazine. He has spoken at the Tate Modern, Yale University, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and the China Academy of Fine Arts. His performance venues include the Brooklyn Academy of Music, SXSW, the John F. Kennedy Center, and the American University of Paris. He has a degree in human sciences from UC Davis in Community and Regional Development, with a focus on ethnic studies.
Herb Tam, Curator and Director of Exhibitions at the Museum of Chinese in America in New York City
Herb Tam has been the Curator and Director of Exhibitions at the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) since 2011. He recently co-curated The Moon Represents My Heart: Music, Memory and Belonging. In 2016 Tam co-curated Sour, Sweet, Bitter, Spicy: Stories of Chinese Food and Identity in America, which featured a video installation and ceramics that defined Chinese food in America. He also co-curated Waves of Identity: 35 Years of Archiving, an exhibition that explored the construction of Chinese American identity through MOCA’s archival materials. In 2012 he curated America through a Chinese Lens, which surveyed photographs of America by contemporary artists and non-professional photographers of Chinese descent. Tam has previously served as the Associate Curator at Exit Art and the Acting Associate Curator at the Queens Museum of Art. While at Exit Art, he curated New Mirrors: Painting in a Transparent World; and co-curated Summer Mixtape Volume 1, an exhibition exploring the role of pop music in the work of emerging artists. In 2007, Tam curated A Jamaica, Queens Thing, about the intersection between hip hop and the crack cocaine epidemic. He has also curated solo exhibitions with artists Lee Mingwei, Rafael Sanchez, and Regina Jose Galindo, and has worked on historical exhibitions about urban planner Robert Moses and alternative art spaces in New York. Tam was born in Hong Kong and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. He studied at San Jose State University and earned a Master’s in Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts, New York.
Tobias Wofford, Assistant Professor, Department of Art History, Virginia Commonwealth University (Discussant)
Tobias Wofford received his PhD and Masters in Art History from the University of California, Los Angeles. His research explores the meeting of globalization and identity in the art of the African Diaspora since the 1950s, as well as concepts of diversity and multiculturalism in art of the United States. To this effect, he has written on the multifaceted role of Africa in contemporary African American art, analyzing how Africa is invoked and interpreted within the context of shifting artistic and political movements in the United States. Wofford teaches courses that explore African American art and visual culture; art of the African Diaspora, and American art. Pervious to joining the VCU faculty, Wofford was an Assistant professor at Santa Clara University. His research has been supported by fellowships from the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts and the Mellon Postdoctoral Program at Johns Hopkins University. Most recently, he was the 2015-2016 Terra Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in American Art at Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington D.C.