Archive for January, 2009

Asian American Artists in California: A Symposium

The UCLA Asian American Studies Center and Hammer Museum cordially invites you to attend:

A Symposium

Saturday, March 14, 2009, 9:00am – 1:00pm
Armand Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024
(located at the northeast corner of Westwood and Wilshire Boulevards in Westwood Village 3 blocks east of the 405 freeway’s Wilshire Boulevard exit)

Program Description
From the Chinese photographers of the Gold Rush to contemporary video artists, men and women of Asian descent have produced a rich and diverse body of artwork. Examining the lives and work of artists past and present offers insights into issues of cultural hybridity, race, social climate, and transnationalism.

This symposium will celebrate the publication of the landmark Asian American Art, A History, 1850-1970, edited by Gordon H. Chang, Mark Johnson, and Paul Karlstrom, as well as present the dynamic work of three present-day artists in southern California. Asian American Art, A History is the first comprehensive study of more than 150 early artists in the United States before 1970. Artists of Asian ancestry have received little historical attention, even though many of them received wide critical acclaim during their productive years. This pioneering work recovers the impressive artistic production of numerous Asian Americans, and brings to light their extraordinary range of vision and media. is giving a 34% discount (only $26.37 instead of $39.95) AND free shipping for this book. Purchase ahead for the best deal.

The first panel explores the history of long-neglected artists, beginning with Sharon Spain’s discussion of the innovative research project that gave rise to the book. Mark Johnson draws attention to the development of an international artistic sensibility among 19th-century Asian American practitioners, Karin Higa illuminates how the creative activity rooted in 1930s Little Tokyo also moved in national and global contexts. Gordon Chang considers the connection of war and art as well as the power of art to influence public mood.

For the second panel, contemporary artists Reanne Estrada, Yong Soon Min, and Viet Le discuss their work within a transnational context. Reanne Estrada reflects on the Galleon Trade project, a series of exhibitions and programs highlighting the linkages among the Philippines, Mexico and California. Yong Soon Min-decolonial art activist and scholar-will speak about her projects, including “transPOP: Korea Viet Nam Remix,” co-curated with Viet Le, an artist and creative writer who examines memory, AIDS and representation in Southeast Asia and its diasporas.

Panelist Bios
Sharon Spain has been the associate director of the Asian American Art Project since 2004 and has managed the California Asian American Artists Biographical Survey project for more than ten years. She holds an M.A. in museum studies and has overseen major exhibition and publication projects, including Chang Dai-chien in California.

Mark Johnson is professor of art at San Francisco State University. He is the co-editor of Asian American Art: A History, 1850-1970, and guest curator for the de Young Museum exhibition Asian/American/Modern Art: Shifting Currents, 1900-1970′ [2008] and other exhibitions of Asian American historical art.

Karin Higa is adjunct senior curator of art at the Japanese American National Museum where she recently curated “Living Flowers: Ikebana and Contemporary Art.” She is currently working on a study of art and culture in Los Angeles’s Little Tokyo between World War I and II.

Gordon Chang is a professor of history at Stanford University. The author of numerous books and articles, he recently co-edited both Asian American Art: A History, 1850-1970 and Chinese American Voices: From the Gold Rush to the Present.

Valerie J. Matsumoto, an associate professor in history and Asian American Studies at UCLA, is a contributor to Asian American Art, A History, 1850-1970. She has just completed a study of Japanese American women in Los Angeles from the Jazz Age to resettlement after World War II.

Reanne Estrada, a Los Angeles-based visual artist, collaborates with Eliza Barios and Jenifer Wofford as Mail Order Brides/M.O.B. on video and works with Public Matters to integrate public-purpose media production with civic engagement.

Yong Soon Min, professor of Studio Art at the University of California, Irvine, incorporates interdisciplinary sources and processes to engage issues of representation and cultural identities. Her work has been widely shown in exhibitions such as the 10th Havana Bienal and the 7th Gwangju Biennale.

Viet Le is an artist, creative writer, and Ph.D. candidate at the University of Southern California. His work has been featured in the Asian Pacific American Journal and anthologies such as So Luminous the Wildflowers; he has exhibited at DoBaeBacSa Gallery, Korea, The Banff Centre, Canada, and the Shoshin Performance Space in New York.

Aimee Chang is Director of Academic Programming and Artist Residencies at the Hammer Museum.


9:00-9:30am Registration

9:30-10:50 Art History Panel (Sharon Spain, Mark Johnson, Gordon Chang, and Karin Higa; moderated by Professor Valerie Matsumoto)

10:50-11:00 Break

11:00-12:20 Contemporary Artists Panel (Yong Soon Min, Reanne Estrada, Viet Le; moderated by Aimee Chang)

Book signing afterward

This event is free and open to the public. RSVP is requested. Please call (310) 825-2974 or e-mail by March 13, 2009.

Parking is available under the Museum. Rates are $3 for the first three hours with Museum stamp; $1.50 for each additional 20 minutes. Parking for people with disabilities is provided on levels P1 and P3.

This program is one of the events celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the UCLA Asian American Studies Center and other ethnic studies centers at UCLA.

For more information, call (310) 825-2974.

Posted by Ming-Yuen S. Ma

January 28, 2009 at 10:33 pm Leave a comment

About Yong Soon Min

Yong Soon Min’s artistic practice, inclusive of curatorial projects, engages interdisciplinary sources and processes in the examination of issues of representation and cultural identities, the intersection of history and memory, and the role of the artist and the arts as agents of social change.  Her recent exhibitions include: 10th Havana Bienal, Smith College Museum, 7th Gwangju Biennale, Third Guangzhou Triennale, 2007 International Incheon Women Artists Biennale, and Kunsthalle Darmstadt.  Recent curatorial projects include transPOP: Korea Vietnam Remix (ARKO Art Center, Seoul, San Art and Galerie Quynh in Sai Gon, University Art Gallery, UC Irvine and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco); Exquisite Crisis and Encounters (Asian/Pacific/American Studies Institute of New York University); and THERE: Sites of Korean Diaspora (4th Gwangju Biennale, Korea).  She is Professor of Studio Art at University of California, Irvine.

Posted by Ming-Yuen S. Ma

January 22, 2009 at 1:56 am Leave a comment

IDAAS Public Art Project: P.O.P./Cultural Intimacies by Yong Soon Min

Installation view of Movement by Yong Soon Min, 2008

Installation view of Movement by Yong Soon Min, 2008

Call for Participants from the Claremont/IDAAS Community:

P.O.P./Cultural Intimacies is a public art project by Korean American artist Yong Soon Min, commissioned for the IDAAS space in the Lincoln Building, and anticipated to be completed by Fall Semester of this year.  The artist invites all members – students, faculty, staff, supporters – of the IDAAS community to participate in the conception and creation of the project.

For the IDAAS commission, I aim to produce a site related installation that incorporates sound and images to reconsider portraiture.  Instead of the more conventional representation of visage or physical likeness, these portraits reflect how a particular subject is constituted historically and socially, as well as by desire, by taste, by empathy. Specifically, these portraits will be based on the (digital) playlists of songs remixed with images from a favorite moving images culled from Asian pop sources, selected by the portrait subjects.

I hope to engage the help of students at the Claremont Colleges and look upon this project as an opportunity to think about how our sense of ourselves is marked not only by cultural and generational difference, but also by access (i.e. to technology, to tradition, to translation). I am interested not so much in who we think we are but who we are trying to become. What moves us? What do/can we share? What are points of convergence and divergence between communities? Is it possible for us to know ourselves better through an encounter with another, and our tastes in popular culture?

The project is rooted in my interest in the “Korean Wave” phenomenon that represents a stunning exception to the general understanding that soft power (of culture) is contingent upon or derived from nations with established hard power, i.e., the coupled political and economic power.  Given this precept, Korea has unexpectedly attained notable status in which its cultural exports in Asia promote a notion of the “Korean Dream,” positioning Korea as a developmental model for lesser-developed countries. The prominence of the Korean Wave in Asia followed on the heals of Japan’s reigning position in the marketing of cultural influence during the nineties. To many Asians, a notion of cultural proximity places Korea and Japan, rather than the West, as a more palatable translator of modernity and the modern life style.  Transnational flows of Asian popular culture coupled with the profound influence of new internet technologies in collapsing geographic distance and boundaries can be said to give rise to constructions of new Asian subjectivities both within Asia as well as within Asian diasporic communities.  These developments signal a seismic shift from the previous, deeply entrenched Euro-American “gaze” to a more overlapping and multidirectional flow of culture.

Detail of Movement by Yong Soon Min, 2008

Detail of Movement by Yong Soon Min, 2008


The production of the project will be facilitated through the Asian Americans in Media (MS100PZ) class.  You can participate in the following ways:

  • Enroll in the class and work with Yong Soon Min in developing the project as a part of your course work (this option will fulfill a number of community-based learning requirements for the Asian American Studies, Media Studies, and Pitzer Social Responsibility requirements)
  • Work with student liaisons from MS100 and instructor Ming-Yuen S. Ma to participate in the project.
  • Attend the two public presentations and meetings where ideas and formats for the project will be discussed.  These will take place on Wednesday nights during MS100 class meeting time.  The dates will be announced on this blog.
  • Keep track of developments on the project through this blog.  You can use the “comments” section to provide feedback.

Link to more information and documentation of Movement

For more information, contact Ming-Yuen S. Ma

Posted by Yong Soon Min and Ming-Yuen S. Ma

January 22, 2009 at 12:28 am Leave a comment


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