Symposium: Asian American Art: Transnational Circulations & Diasporic Framings

When 30 May 2014 - 31 May 2014
Where Smithsonian Institution Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution
750 9th Street NW #2200
Washington, DC 20004
United States

The two-day symposium is presented as a part of the NYU Global Asia/Pacific Art Exchange as a collaboration with the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU, the Smithsonian Institution Archives of American Art and Asian Pacific American Center

Asian American art is considered to be the body of work created by artists of Asian ancestry (both domestic and foreign-born) in the U.S. The last decades of the twentieth century witnessed an explosive growth in Asian American cultural production, prompting the proclamation of a “Harlem Renaissance-like era” in the arts. In the 1990’s for the first time, a number of group exhibitions featured work by Asian American artists. Among them were national and regional surveys such as “Asian Traditions/Modern Expressions: Asian American Artists and Abstraction 1945 – 1970” (1997); “They Painted From Their Hearts: Pioneer Asian American Artists” (1994); and “With New Eyes: Toward an Asian American Art History in the West” (1995).

Following the lifting of restrictive federal immigration quotas in 1965, successive waves of Asian migration introduced different viewpoints, concerns, and artistic sensibilities. A conceptual realignment ensued as scholars began to place Asian American art in a transnationalframework, and the notion of diaspora — with its connotations of circulations and dispersion of populations from ancestral lands of origin — came center stage. An emphasis toward examining globalized circuits along which artists, ideas, and artistic influences continue to flow and comparative transcultural approaches were reflected in ensuing discourse and exhibitions, including “Across the Pacific: Contemporary Korean and Korean American Art” (1993) and “Uncommon Traits: Re/Locating Asia” (1997-98). New generations of art historians and scholars in other disciplines introduced critical perspectives from postmodernist, psychoanalytic, and postcolonial theory, as well as from literary, film, and performance studies, into this expanding and multivalent dialogue.

More recent scholarship, curatorial and digital projects have sought to draw out dynamic linkages and cross-influences among the cohort of Taiwanese, Hong Kong, Chinese and Japanese and other East Asian artists who arrived in the U.S. during 1900s-80s. Whether or not they ultimately settled here, their presence would significantly impact on critical discourse in both the American and East Asian art worlds, as well as on ways in which Asian American art has been positioned in relation to East Asian art. This has developed new conceptual vocabularies, enabled a movement away from East West binary discourses, and engages with postcolonial discourse, including the archive, counter-archive, convergences and solidarities; transnational, transcultural, and translocal discourse; global and hemispheric framings of Asian diasporic art; institutional and curatorial practice; and digital art history. The symposium will look at global comparative diasporic framings and current research, scholarship, as well as institutional, curatorial, and current digital approaches to the Asian American Art History of the past century.

Photo courtesy of the organiser/s

For the full symopsium schedule and location details, please click here.