Contemporary Asian American artists––with a strong sense of being American and an acute critical consciousness of world matters––grapple with issues of identity in a way that sets them apart from their predecessors. Whereas many Asian American artists of a previous generation directly referred to an Asian sense of self in their works, it can be argued that younger Asian American artists only sometimes make reference to it or omit it entirely.
This creatively designed book focuses on recent works by seventeen Asian American artists born in the late 1960s and 1970s––including Patty Chang, Kaz Oshiro, and Jean Shin––to explore this pivotal generation of artists, the prevalent themes in their art, and the different ways they configure identity in their work. One Way or Another features examples of painting, sculpture, and video and installation art––many previously unpublished––and includes essays that discuss the shifting meaning of Asian America over the last decade and address the issues of mixed heritage and the emergence of an evolving Asian American identity in an increasingly globalized society.
This title is included in “Holding Space: A Shortlist Exploring the Complexity of Asian American Identity”. Publications that address the complexities of the Asian American and Asian diasporic experience in the field of contemporary art are few and far between. As an organization based in the U.S. and serving a diasporic Asian community, we have experienced firsthand both the desire for knowledge in this space as well as the frustration due to its paucity. “Holding Space” is a shortlist composed of a selection of publications housed at our reading room that begins to redress this scarcity. This list is by no means exhaustive; rather, it represents the start of a continued commitment to fill this gap.